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Take over century-old lake, HC directs State

The Bombay High Court recently said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) carried out illegal construction on a 100-year-old lake in Kandivali, and directed the State government and the Mumbai Suburban Collector to take possession of the plot, demolish the illegal construction and restore the lake.

A Division Bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Riyaz Chagla was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Pankaj Kotecha, which says construction was done without taking permission of the collector. The PIL says there are no documents reflecting that the plot was handed over to the BMC.

The court said, “There is a breach of sanction which was for the beautification of the lake and not for the change of user of the subject plot.” The Bench directed that all illegal construction must be demolished.

The order said, “It is clear that the State being a trustee on behalf of the people is enjoined to protect and preserve the natural resources which would include water bodies such as lakes … authorities have failed in their duty.” The lake has to be restored as it existed prior to being filled up, within six months from taking over the plot, it said.

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