Which law allows immersion procession on private road? HC asks Maharashtra government

The Bombay High Court today sought to know from the Maharashtra government under which law it allows Ganpati and Navratri processions on private roads leading to immersion points, even when residents along private roads have raised objections.

A division bench of justices A S Oka and V L Achliya asked the government to inform by September 14 under what provisions of law does it allow processions on private property.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Abhinav Nagar Cooperative Housing Society, a private residential complex having gates, located in suburban Borivali.

The society has challenged a notice issued to it by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) directing it to keep the society gates open so that the road, which leads to the Dahisar river, can be used for immersion procession. The civic body in its notice has said if the gates are kept closed during immersion days, then the corporation would break them open.

Counsel Shreepad Murthy, arguing for the petitioner, said that the society is spread over 30 acres and as per an agreement entered with the civic body, a part of it was handed over to the corporation for constructing and maintaining the road. This did not mean the ownership of the road was transferred to the corporation, he said. He said there are other roads that lead to the Dahisar river, but still the corporation is insisting on using the private road.

However, BMC's counsel Anil Sakhare claimed that the civic body built the road and. The BMC is maintaining it and also provides electricity on the road, thus they were the owners of the road, he argued.

The court, after going through the documents placed before it, said, "Prima facie possession (of the road) does not vest with the corporation. The state government has to take instructions whether processions are allowed on private roads."

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