HC quashes Maha notification to exclude 18 villages from KDMC

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Thane,Dec 17 (PTI) The Bombay High Court has quashed and set aside the Maharashtra government's decision to exclude 18 villages from the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) limits and form a separate civic council.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni gave the ruling on Wednesday while disposing of a set of petitions challenging the Maharashtra government's June 24, 2020 order, whereby it decided to alter the limits of the Kalyan Dombivili Municipal Corporation (KDMC).

As per the government's order, 18 villages were to be excluded and a separate civil council was to be constituted.

The HC in its order said the notification issued by the government would stand 'vitiated and rendered illegal, null and void', as the government had not followed the statutory provision to take prior consultation with the concerned municipal corporation before taking any decision.

As per the petitioners, the exclusion of these 18 villages from civic body limits would result in them not receiving proper facilities like hospitals, fire stations and so on.

The petitioners claimed the government order was 'unreasonable and irrational' and there was procedural impropriety as the government had not adhered to certain statutory provisions which mandated consultation to be taken from the civic body concerned (in this case KDMC).

The HC bench accepted this argument and said, 'We wonder whether such consistent oblivity to the mandatory requirement of consultation can in the circumstances be regarded as mere carelessness when such an important and sensitive decision was taken affecting lakhs of citizens.' 'Painfully, the basic illegality of lack of consultation with the Corporation (KDMC) also met the same fate of a Nelsons eye, in the hands of the State Government in issuing the final notification (excluding the 18 villages),' the court said in its order.

The bench noted that when the law mandates for consultation with the corporation concerned, then it would mean a meeting in which parties consult, confer, exchange their views on an issue so as to form an opinion and/or reach a conclusion.

'In our opinion, the intent and purpose of the legislature providing for consultation with the Corporation cannot be rendered an empty formality and is required to be meaningful to achieve the desired legislative intent,' the high court said. PTI COR SP GK GK