As reported in on 05 June 2008:
Centre, M’rashtra told to file say on ULCRA repeal - National News – News – MSN India - News

Centre, Mrashtra told to file say on ULCRA repeal

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today asked the Union Government, the Maharashtra Government and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to file their replies within four weeks, regarding a PIL challenging the repeal of the Urban Land Ceiling and Regulation Act (ULCRA).

The Division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice V M Kanade was hearing the PIL filed by suburban Mumbai residents P B Sawant, Mrunal Gore, Vasant Shirali and Kamal Desai, all of them former members of the Legislative Assembly here.

The PIL says that the state entered into a MOU with the Central government for funding under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission in October 2006, accepting the condition "that ULCRA would be repealed" to get funding from the Centre to develop Mumbai.

The petitioners contended that the Central Government does not have the power to levy this condition as the JNNURM was included in Appropriation Act 2007-08 and no such condition was imposed by Parliament for disbursement of grant to state governments. Also, the MOU is opposed to public policy and should be set aside.

According to information under RTI, the states and Union Territories did not make sincere efforts to implement the 1976 Act till June 1998, the PIL states.

On account of non-implementation, the sale of land was frozen leading to land prices rocketing sky-high and creating an acute shortage in cities like Mumbai.

The PIL also states that the reasons for Union government to repeal the ULCRA were neither accurate nor correct.

The government could have acquired the land at Rs 7 crore from 335 land holders, created 26 lakh tenements and earned profits of around Rs 2,000 crore by selling them, it says. But by repealing the Act, state government lost a lot of money and also aggravated the problem of housing in Mumbai.

"Their (union and state) bureaucrats and builders have conspired to defeat the object of the 1976 Act," the PIL says.

The Petitioners said that the Chief Minister had moved the resolution to repeal the Act in Maharashtra in April 2007 before the Legislative Assembly but the same is contrary to the provisions of the Constitution.

Also, it is illegal because it was moved before the Assembly before obtaining approval from the Council of Ministers as prescribed under Maharashtra Government Business Rules, the PIL states.

Repealing the Act violates various articles of the Constitution and is liable to be declared "ultra vires' and struck down, the PIL said.

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