Bombay High Court on Tuesday dismissed a public interest litigation by a builder cum activist which alleged irregularity in the sale of Wakf land for industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s skyscraper residence Antilia on Altamount Road.
A bench of Justice Vidyasagar Kanade and Justice Mahesh Sonak imposed a cost of Rs 50,000 on Shadaab Patel and also Rs 25,000 on advocate Firoz Ansari who filed an intervention plea supporting the PIL. Both have to pay the money to Tata Memorial Hospital towards cancer patients.
Patel’s petition said the land was meant for an orphanage but sold by a trust to Ambani in 2002 for barely Rs 21 crore when the actual value was much higher. Ansari contended that Wakf land cannot be sold to anyone except people from the community.
The judges questioned the delay in filing the PIL 14 years after the land was sold. “Why are you challenging it now?” asked Justice Kanade. Patel’s advocate Khan Javed said the Sheikh Committee report came in 2011. The bench said if Patel was a bona fide petitioner, he would have not come to court after such a long time. Asked what the Patel does, his advocate replied, “He is a social activist.”
The judges said it has become a trend to file PILs. “Time has come to dismiss such frivolous PILs with heavy cost,” said Justice Kanade. The bench initially said it would impose cost of Rs 5 lakh on Patel but reduced it to Rs 50,000.