The Supreme Court on Wednesday cancelled allotment of 20 acres of prime land by the BJP government in Bhopal to the Kushabhau Thakre Memorial Trust , of which L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Venkaiah Naidu are trustees, on the ground that it was a political largesse without transparency.
The court said though the trust’s objective was laudable, it could not become the recipient of state largesse on party lines. It faulted the allotment on the ground that similarly placed trusts and charitable organisations got no wind of availability of land as it was never advertised.
“The fact remains that all its trustees are members of a particular party and the entire exercise for the reservation and allotment of land and waiver of major portion of the premium was undertaken because political functionaries of the state wanted to favour the trust and the officers of the state at various levels were forced to toe the line of their political masters,” said a Bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly.
Allowing a petition filed by Akhil Bharatiya Upbhokta Congress, the Bench said: “The allotment of 20 acres of land is declared illegal and quashed. Commissioner, Town and Country Planning, Bhopal, is directed to take possession of the land and use the same strictly in accordance with the Bhopal Development Plan . The state government is directed to refund the amount deposited by the trust within a period of 15 days from today.”
Writing the judgment for the Bench, Justice Singhvi lamented the misuse of office by ruling parties disregarding the constitutional provisions. “What needs to be emphasized is that the state and/or its agencies/instrumentalities cannot give largesse to any person according to the sweet will and whims of political entities and/or officers of the state.”
The allotment of land, grant of quota, permit licences etc by the government should always be done in a fair and equitable manner and in the exercise of discretion it must eschew favouritism and nepotism, the court said. “There cannot be any policy, much less a rational policy, of allotting land on the basis of applications made by individuals, bodies, organisations or institutions de hors an invitation or advertisement by the State or its agency/instrumentality,” it said.
Congress seeks Advani explanation for link
Congress on Wednesday called for action under various legal provisions against a BJP-dominated trust which was censured by the Supreme Court for receiving over 20 acres of land in Bhopal at a throwaway price six months before its inception.
Party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said that apart from criminal procedure, the authorities should haul up BJP veteran L K Advani and ask him to explain his association with the Kushabhau Thakre Trust which had received ‘undue favours’ from the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh.
The court set aside the land allotment passing an order on a petition by an NGO . “This is an act of shameful, blatant and brazen corruption on the part of the BJP,” Natarajan said. TNN