Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Saturday informed the Bombay High Court that actress-turned-MP Hema Malini had refused to accept the land allotted to her by the state government in suburban Andheri for a dance academy.
Following the statement, a bench headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur disposed of a public interest litigation filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar which had challenged the allotment to the actress at a nominal rate.
Reports of allotment of a prime piece of land to the BJP MP had kicked up a row earlier this year. Nothing survived in the PIL in view of the statement made by government pleader Priyabushan Kakade that the actress had declined to accept the offer, said the judges. However, the court gave liberty to Mr Tirodkar to file a fresh petition if it came to his notice that the actress had, after all, got the land.
Petitioner’s lawyer Sadhana Kumar said as per the information obtained under Right To Information Act, a piece of land in suburban Andheri was allotted to the actress at a very low rate. As this information was in the public domain, the petition should be heard, notwithstanding the government’s today’s statement.
However, the court said the “cause of action” no longer survived. Mr Tirodkar had alleged that the allotment was arbitrary and several past judgements of the High Courts and the Supreme Court had said that public property cannot be allotted by the state without issuing an advertisement inviting applications.
The academy run by Hema Malini had first got a land in Versova, but it fell under coastal regulation zone (CRZ), so she asked for alternative land. In December 2015, BJP-headed Maharashtra government allotted 2,000 sq metres of land to her for just Rs. 70,000.