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'We salute the pilots for finding the air strip at Mumbai airport'

Friday, February 23, 2018
By Philip Varghese

The Bombay High Court rapped the Maharashtra government, yesterday, for the delay in finding a plot for the Maharashtra National Law University that is compelled to run from a government-building in Powai

In an interesting development, the Maharashtra government’s failure to allot a decent plot to set up the Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU) in the city, has again invited the wrath of the Bombay High Court.

This is for the third time that the High Court (HC) has pulled up the state government for failure to provide land to the MNLU, which has been forced to function from only two floors in a Powai-based building. In its earlier hearing, the HC bench was irked by the submissions made by the state government, which has decided to give a majorly ‘unconstructive’ land for the MNLU. The government has come up with this land after handing over a major chunk of it to the Airport Authority of India (AAI).

However, during the hearing yesterday, the High Court rapped the state government and stated that the latter had time to hold mega-events like 'Magnetic Maharashtra' business summit. “However, still not decided on the allotment of land to set up the Mumbai campus of the MNLU. We are fed up of this attitude as the allotment has been pending before the government since a year. The government seems to have time to hold mega events in the city. We want the government to solve the issue before the next mega event is organised,” observed the division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Bharati Dangre.

The PIL was filed last year by advocate Pradeep Havnur, claiming that no concrete steps were being taken to hand over the land to set up the MNLU. Havnur's lawyer, counsel Milind Sathe contended that the Government Resolution issued in June 2016, allotted a plot of land, admeasuring 60 acres in Gorai. However, a major part of the land had later been handed over to the Airport Authority of India (AAI).

The bench also appreciated the efforts of the pilots at the Mumbai airport. “There is severe congestion at the Mumbai Airport. Have you seen it? This is like a calamity waiting to happen. With no open space around the airport, the parking lot is just 40 metres away. There are hutments and so many other structures just within metres of the airport. Hats off to the pilots for finding the air strip for landing properly in the Mumbai airport,” the bench observed.

It may be recalled that the MNLU has been functional since the past three-four years and is still in a fix, as it has no proper infrastructure and doesn’t even have a building of its own. The MNLU is compelled to run from two floors of a government-building in Powai, where it was shifted recently only after spending around three years in a shed installed in the campus of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) at Deonar.

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