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Expressing concern over a housing society's decision to restrict the general public from accessing an open space and a garden area in south Mumbai, the Bombay High Court today directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to place on record the original sanction and layout plan for the society and the public garden. A bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice M S Sonak was hearing a petition filed by a social worker, alleging that a housing society at Cuffe Parade had illegally usurped a plot sanctioned for a public garden and an open space for the exclusive use of its residents. The petitioner had also alleged that the residents of the society were not allowing the general public to have an access to the park. During a previous hearing, the bench had directed the court receiver to visit the area and report back to it. On last Friday, the court receiver had informed the bench that the housing society had indeed taken over two-thirds of the land meant for a public garden and was using it to accommodate a private gymnasium and security cabins. The BMC had, however, submitted that as per the original land allotment agreement, the developer was allowed to use certain parts of the open area. It had also told the court that access to the park and open area was being regulated to ensure that there were no encroachments. The bench, however, noted that no private society could take over a public land and restrain people from using an open area meant for public use.
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