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THE Maharashtra Government today took a stand before the Bombay High Court that offices of BJP and some government organisations, considered illegal on a plot reserved for a garden and recreational garden near Mantralaya, were not demolished as they existed even before the Development Control rules were framed in 1991.

The Court was hearing a bunch of PILs alleging that BJP and some state government offices, including those of employment exchange and Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), had illegally built offices on this plot.

These offices were legally built before DC rules were framed, an affidavit filed by a PWD engineer of the State Government said. In the DC rules, this plot had been reserved for a garden and recreational ground. In the affidavit, the Government has shifted the responsibility of demolishing these offices on Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation which is the planning authority.

The affidavit further said that without prejudice these structures which existed prior to 1991 have been expressly permitted by the Municipal Corporation to continue in accordance with DC rules. On last occasion, the Court had stopped BJP from carrying out additional construction.

The PIL, filed by Nariman Point Churchgate Citizens Welfare Trust, Oval Cooperage Residents association and the Federation of Churchgate residents, demanded removal of all encroachments and structures constructed on the “Nehru Garden” plot of land and restoration of the garden as a green space.

A bench headed by Justice Anoop Mohata adjourned the hearing to four weeks to enable the petitioners to file rejoinder. (PTI).

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