The State government on Tuesday informed the Bombay High Court that more than ₹2.5 crore had already been spent on the construction of a national monument of the general Tatya Tope at Yeola in Nashik district.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a social worker Anand Gulabrao Shinde, who is involved in various activities in Yeola taluka.

The PIL sought a direction to authorities to change the place sanctioned for the monument from Yeola taluka to a plot in Angangaon village in Yevla tehsil of the same district, which belongs to the Irrigation department.

On June 30, the HC declined to provide an interim relief on the belated approach of Mr. Shinde and said 50% of the construction work of the monument had already been completed. Through a resolution dated November 20, 2017, the general body of the town planning department, Nashik, had proposed construction of the monument on an area measuring seven acres. On December 8, permission was granted by the department. On November 19, 2018, the State ministry of tourism and cultural affairs approved the proposal for building the monument.

The Central government has sanctioned funds to the extent of 75% of the estimated cost while the rest will be borne by the State.

The HC said construction of the monument and selection of the site was essentially a decision within the administrative domain and that in such cases, the court ought to stay at a distance unless breach of any provision of law was demonstrated.

The Bench also said, “Substantial expenses from public funds have been incurred towards construction of the monument. To interfere at this stage would certainly result in wastage of public funds, which would not be in furtherance of public interest.”

The court dismissed the PIL, and said, “There can be no dispute with regard to the legal position that where a monument ought to be constructed must be left to the executive to decide. Such decision could be challenged if the executive proposes to construct a monument on a piece and parcel of land which does not conform to the specific land use plan and/or would otherwise be in breach of any provision of law.”

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