Bombay High Court scraps grant of Bandra plot to IAS Academy

In a relief to the residents of Pal Hill in Bandra who had moved the Bombay High Court in 2018 against a 4600 sqft civic body-owned premises being given to Shiv Vidya Prabodhini Balasaheb Thackeray IAS Academy without inviting any bids, the allotment now stands cancelled. The HC had in August 2018, in interim orders, restrained the BMC from handing over possession of the premises, which was a welfare centre, to the IAS Academy. The premises are in a building at Union Park on the ground and first floor in Bandra West.

The Bandra residents, represented by Senior Counsel Prasad Dhakephalkar, sought quashing of allotment and said the BMC ought to follow all the rules and issue advertisements first and follow due procedure.

On January 24, 2020, a day after a bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and B P Colabawalla expressed views critical of the allotment, Karl Tamboly, the Counsel for Vijay Kadam, trustee of the academy, submitted that its March 2018 application to the BMC be "treated as withdrawn and allotment of the welfare centre to the academy be treated as cancelled."

Anil Sakhare, Special Civic Counsel, said the BMC has prepared a draft policy in September 2019 for such allotments and it shall soon be placed before the general body for approval.

The HC bench hence directed that the "letter of Intent issued by the Corporation dated 23rd April, 2018 to Shiv Vidya Prabodhini Balasaheb Thackeray IAS Academy allotting the premises of 4600 sqft for being used as Welfare Centre stands cancelled." The HC directed that the "corporation shall allot" the premises as a welfare centre after inviting applications from interested organisations and directed that the academy "is at liberty to respond to advertisement issued by BMC."

The residents body had, in a bid to garner support in its fight against the civic "wrong", had approached other resident bodies in Bandra and Khar in its fight against the BMC giving out the welfare centre in the locality to a coaching institute, Shiv Vidya Prabodhini Balasaheb Thackeray IAS Academy, without following the tendering process.

The secretary of the Pali Hill citizens' body, Madhu Poplai, had met members of the H West Federation, Khar Residents Association, Gadzarband Residents Association, Welfare of Stray Animals, St Martin's Road Association and Daulat Nagar Residents Association to seek their support to write to CM Uddhav Thackeray.

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