In his petition, Mr Chavan said that a land parcel owned by NESCO was originally the site of a well and lake.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court Tuesday directed a “serial litigant” – who claimed that he filed pleas for the betterment of society – to do some real social work like beach cleaning to prove his bona fide.
A division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre was hearing the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Rakesh Chavan against the state government, various state departments an-d private company NESCO for illegal use of land.
The bench directed Mr Chavan to approach beach cleanup crusader Afroz Shah on September 2 and participate in whatever work Mr Shah gave him for a week. In the meantime, Mr Chavan’s petition would be kept pending, the court said.
In his petition, Mr Chavan said that a land parcel owned by NESCO was originally the site of a well and lake. NESCO was now using the plot as an industrial exhibition centre but such use was illegal, Mr Chavan claimed. He urged the court to direct the authorities to restore the lake and well on the site.
NESCO counsel Prasad Dakhephalkar, however, told the court that the plot had been bought by the company after following all applicable rules back in the 1970s.
He said that after Mr Chavan filed the PIL, the company did some research and found out that a lake did exist at the site but that was nearly 400 years ago.
Advocate Dakhephalkar also told the court that the petitioner was a “serial litigant” who approached the high court whenever he came to know of any new private construction. Advocate Dakhephalkar said that NESCO was planning to demolish the existing exhibition hall and construct a new one at the same site.
At this, Mr Chavan said that he filed petitions to ensure “social uplift and betterment of society”. Taking note of his submission, the bench said, “You want to work for the betterment of society then do some real social work now. Go clean some beach, or do any other work that Afroz Shah assigns to you for a week.”
The court directed the state to ensure that Mr Chavan went to Mr Shah’s office once on September 2 and did whatever was assigned to him.
Mr Shah, a lawyer at the Bombay high court, was praised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ in 2017 for the cleanliness work done by him and his team to transform the Versova beach.