Bombay High Court (HC) has held that the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) has the right to auction the land under its possession, mentioned a FPJ report. According to the Bombay High Court, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) doesn’t have any power to dictate conditions on CIDCO plots.
“There was no embargo or any restriction whatsoever on CIDCO to deal with such plots/lands and hold the auction of which the beneficiaries are private respondents,” observed a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik.
The Bombay HC in its 127-page judgment added that going by the circumstances discussed, NMMC, in law, could not impose such reservation on CIDCO plots/lands as it was outside its power and authority to do so.
Dismissing the PILs, the Bombay HC said, “With certitude, we conclude that CIDCO has rightfully auctioned lands in question for the purpose of their development at the hands of the allottees, namely, the private respondents.” In accordance with law, the Bombay HC has allowed CIDCO to proceed with steps regarding allotment of plots.
The Bombay HC was hearing two public interest litigations (PILs) that had challenged auction by CIDCO of 12 plots disputing that some of these plots were reserved by NMMC for public purposes in a proposed Draft Development Plan under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966. However, the plots are vested with CIDCO as a New Town Development Authority as constituted for the Navi Mumbai Area.
CIDCO invited auction bids on these lands for commercial and residential purposes through public notice in January 2021 and the auction was held in February- March 2021, with plots being allotted to private people. The PIL was filed in May 2021.
The petitioners contended that as the plots were reserved for public purposes, they cannot be subjected to CIDCO allotment for residential/commercial purposes. This was opposed by CIDCO, the private allottees who won auction bids and the Maharashtra government.
CIDCO was set up as a New Town Development Authority for designated sites to form New Bombay, now Navi Mumbai, by a notification in 1971, much before formation of NMMC in 1991. CIDCO contended that the plots proposed to be reserved by NMMC were vested with CIDCO under MRTP Act, to develop and auction and even after NMMC’s formation, CIDCO’s power over these plots “remained undisturbed”.