HC orders action against illegal constructions on Pratapgarh

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Mumbai, Sep 13 (UNI) The Bombay High Court today directed the Conservator of Forests to take legal action within four weeks against all illegal constructions up near Afzal Khan's tomb on historical Pratapgarh in Satara District.

This direction came on a public interest litigation filed Varsha Deshpande, a lawyer from Satara, seeking to end communal tension over the alleged illegal construction in the area where, the Moghul commander's tomb was located.

Considering averments made by petitioner's lawyer Uday Warunjikar that the state government apparently does not have actual measurements of the tomb , a division bench comprising Justic J N Patel and Justice Amjad Sayyad directed the Forest Conservator to determine the actual area of Afzal Khan's tomb and, thereafter, take legal action against the illegal constructions.

The court further directed the Forest Conservator to ensure that no non-forest activities take place in the area, which falls within protected forest zone and where non-forest activities were not permitted, except with permission from the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests and from the high powered committee appointed by the Supreme Court.

Counsel appearing for the Mohammed Hazrat Afzal Khan Memorial Trust, which has been looking after the Tomb, opposed the demolition saying the land was leased out to the trust and the lease was recently extended to 2012.


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