A division bench of the Bombay High Court, headed by justice BR Gavai, has opined that ‘if a judge or a senior bureaucrat already has a house in the city or state, then, he or she should not opt for another house under any government scheme’. The bench made the observation, while hearing a public interest litigation filed by activist Ketan Tirodkar, which questioned the state government’s decision to construct a high-rise residential building in suburban Oshiwara, for sitting high court judges.
Tirodkar argued that apart from the sitting judges, the government also allots flats to those judges who retire from the Bombay High Court or those judges, who were earlier here and were later promoted to the Supreme Court.
The bench directed advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhkoni, to take up the issue with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and posted the petition for hearing on May 4, 2018.
According to Tirodkar’s petition, in August 2015, the government had sanctioned a housing scheme for the serving judges on a 32,300 sq ft public plot in Oshiwara, following a request made in this regard by the proposed cooperative housing society of the judges. While the construction is yet to be carried out, the government has offered 84 homes, each of 1,076 sq ft, on ownership basis to the judicial officers. While the government has sanctioned the membership of 39 judges so far, two serving judges have since surrendered their claim.