Gandhinagar plots: Apex court asks HC to speed up decision

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The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Gujarat High Court to speedily decide a decade-old matter relating to alleged irregularities in the sale and transfer of over 15,000 plots, allotted at concessional rates in Gandhinagar to some MPs, MLAs and senior government officials.

Underlining that the matter, which was taken up suo motu by the HC in 2001, had not been effectively heard since 2008, a Bench led by Justice D K Jain said: "Accordingly, we request the High Court to take up matter for final disposal as expeditiously as possible. We clarify it will be open to the High Court to pass appropriate orders or issue directions which are deemed to be necessary for decision in the issue arising in the suo motu petition."

The Bench also asked the state government not to make any fresh allotments or grant permissions to transfer these plots under the government's resolution without taking permission from the HC.

On being mentioned by senior advocate Meenakshi Lekhi, who appeared for Gujarat, the court also recorded that the government has not made any allotment since 2007 and that the prior policy of making such allotments was already being re-examined.

"Our orders are not against any particular government or a political party. If there are important issues, they require to be properly decided in accordance with the laws," remarked the Bench when Lekhi pointed out that the majority of allotments in question were done prior to Narendra Modi government coming to power in Gujarat for the first time in 2001.

She also expressed her apprehensions that the court's restraint order on allotment could be used against the current government, which faces the test of election next month, even though there was no allotment made for the last seven years.

"We cannot help it as we cannot restrain people from using our orders in a positive or a negative way. We can only pass orders which are just and fair," said the Bench, as it allowed Lekhi to bring on record the government's current stand over such allotments.

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