Bombay Dyeing claims state placed assertion in court without its knowledge

Bombay Dyeing and Manufacturing Company told Bombay High Court (HC) Friday its petition challenging a state government assertion that it did not approve a modified proposal to commercially develop mill land was placed before a division bench of justices Mohit Shah and Roshan Dalvi without knowledge of company.

The state government had written to BMC on January 5, 2012, that it did not officially approve the modified proposal. It said in an affidavit Bombay Dyeing obtained approval for the proposal to use 33,545 square metres of 41,895-square-metre mill land in Dadar-Naigaon for commercial development "in cahoots" with a section officer in the textile department.

"Section officer P D Chavan issued a letter to the petitioners (Bombay Dyeing) on October 4, 2004, allegedly according approval to the said proposal dated August 19, 2004, without authority of law. The same was not only not approved by the minister of textiles but also not approved by the CM," Chandrashekhar Gajbe, deputy secretary, department of cooperation, marketing and textiles, said in the affidavit. The case was earlier placed for hearing before a division bench headed by justice A M Khanwilkar and adjourned till February 26.

Bombay Dyeing counsel Navroz Seervai, however, alleged a precipe had been moved by the state government "behind its back" to place the matter before the special bench. "Why should it be before a special bench? This is embarrassing," he said.

Seervai said the case was being heard by a bench headed by justice S A Bobde and then by justice Khanwilkar.

Assistant government pleader G W Mattos, however, said nothing was done behind the back and the precipe had been served to the instructing advocate for the company. He said it was an administrative order passed by the court and hence, no allegations should be made against the government.

The precipe filed on February 14 stated facts and issues of the case pertained to the issues raised in two previous petitions decided by bench of justices Shah and Dalvi on May 11, 2012. "It is thus in fitment of things that above matter is also heard by same bench," it said.

Chief justice Shah asked if present case pertained to handing over of mill land to MHADA. Seervai said petition filed by Bombay Dyeing contested a letter issued by state to BMC and it had nothing to do with previous cases.

Jeh Wadia, MD, Bombay Dyeing, said the state government affidavit reported in the Press did not pertain to approval for land or construction but to the company textile modernisation scheme at its Worli unit.

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