A bench of Justices heard the PIL by Imran Qureshi, who challenged provisions of DCR 33 (7), which pertains to redevelopment of old cessed buildings in the island city.
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday slapped Rs 10 lakh cost on a builder-cum-activist who filed a PIL challenging two provisions of the Development Control regulations.
A bench of Justices Vidyasagar Kanade and Mahesh Sonak heard the PIL by Imran Qureshi, who challenged provisions of DCR 33 (7), which pertains to redevelopment of old cessed buildings in the island city. Qureshi alleged that R A Realty Ventures and Rubberwalla Housing Infrastructure Ltd had colluded to defraud MHADA in the surrender of surplus area developed by them at Carmichael Road, off Pedder Road.
When the judges questioned what was the public interest in the PIL, Qureshi’s advocate replied that it was for the benefit of tenants of cessed building. The judges said such tenants were capable of coming to court. Asked for the grounds of challenge, the advocate was not forthcoming. State advocate G W Mattos pointed out that this was the fourth challenge to DCR 33 (7). Senior advocate Rafiq Dada, appearing for a developer, said an earlier bench had ruled that once a challenge to a statute was dismissed it cannot be re-agitated on a different ground.
The advocate for the other developer told the court that Qureishi had filed seven to eight cases against his client. He also said an associate of Qureshi had filed a PIL in which the HC had directed him to deposit Rs 10 lakh before it could hear the matter. The associate failed to do so and the PIL was dismissed. “This shows the petitioner’s conduct,” he added.
The judges asked Qureshi’s advocate if his client would like to withdraw the PIL but he persisted with arguments. Coming down heavily, the bench said the petitioner was not a “bona fide litigant”. Dismissing the PIL, the bench said it was not in public interest and imposed the cost. It said that if he did not pay up, the state government would recover it from him by way of arrears of land revenue. It barred him from filing PILs for two years. The judges orally observed that “such litigations eat into precious judicial time, which the court could have spent on deciding a genuine litigation”.