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Illegal land purchase case: SC stays Bom HC order for FIR against Maha MLC Dhananjay Munde

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 14-06-2019 19:29 IST | Created: 14-06-2019 19:21 IST
Illegal land purchase case: SC stays Bom HC order for FIR against Maha MLC Dhananjay Munde
The bench said that the case would set the wrong precedence as tomorrow people will move the high court for registration of cases under section 420 (cheating) IPC.

The Supreme Court Friday stayed Bombay High Court's order directing registration of a case against NCP leader and Maharashtra MLC Dhananjay Munde for alleged illegal purchase of government land. The top court said that the plenary power of the high court under Article 226 of the Constitution is not 'Ram Baan' and needs to be used sparingly.

A vacation bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Surya Kant also sought a reply from the Maharashtra government on the plea filed by Munde seeking a stay on the high court order directing police to file a case against him for allegedly purchasing land at Pus village in Ambajogai tehsil of Beed district. "What is troubling us is the exercise of power under Article 226 of the constitution by the high court in a matter like this. There are no reasons given for use of such powers. The plenary powers of the high court have to be used sparingly. It's not a 'Ram Baan' (panacea)," the bench observed.

At the outset, senior advocate Amrendra Sharan, appearing for Munde informed the court that state police has registered the FIR against him in pursuance of the High Court's order. "Both the complaint and the FIR needs to be quashed. No complaint is made out and police have earlier said that no case is made out," the bench said.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the complainant in the case opposed the contention said that high court was right in ordering for registration of case as police have refused to lodge an FIR against Munde who is a very influential political person. To this, the bench said, "What is so exceptional about this case that high court was forced to exercise its plenary powers guaranteed under Article 226 of the Constitution in disregard to the CrPC provisions."

The bench said that the case would set the wrong precedence as tomorrow people will move the high court for registration of cases under section 420 (cheating) IPC. Ahmadi said that allegations were very serious and government land was swindled by the accused in connivance with revenue officials.

The bench said, "If this is allowed to happen, then every second matter will come up before the high court to get FIR lodged". The high court had on June 10 passed an order for registration of a case against Munde on a plea filed by one Rajabhau Phad, who alleged that the land which belonged to the government was purchased and given to the Belkhandi Math in Beed as a gift.

As per law, the land cannot be transferred without the government's permission, the initial petition had said. Heirs of Ranit Wyanka Giri, the mahant of the Belkhandi Math, transferred the land in their names and claimed that they were its owners and the government was not informed about it, according to the petition.

The land was later bought by Munde on the basis of a general power of attorney in 2012. Munde applied for non-agricultural status (NA) of the land and got it, the petition had alleged.

Phad had approached the Bardapur police station in Beed seeking a criminal case to be lodged against Munde, his wife and others. However, when the police failed to initiate a probe, Phad approached the high court claiming that the land originally belonged to the government and hence, cannot be sold to anyone.

He had sought an FIR be lodged under IPC Sections 420 (cheating), 467, 468 and 471 (forgery) against Munde, his wife and 15 others. Munde had contended before the high court that there was a dispute between the then Math mahant and priest of the trust on this land.

He had said the matter was taken to court and on the basis of the decree, another person became the owner of the land, adding that in 2012, Munde bought the land from that person by adhering to all legal procedures. The high court's Aurangabad bench, however, had said prima facie it appears the government land was usurped and hence, directed the Bardapur police to file a case against Munde and others and probe the allegations.


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