MUMBAI: The Supreme Court has upheld the Bombay High Court order quashing the 20 acre land allotted to Subash Ghai’s film institute Whistling Wood International at the Film City, Mumbai.
Saying that the CM cannot bend or bypass rules to give away government land, a bench of justices H L Dattu and C K Prasad pulled up former Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh for allotting the land in 2004.
"One cannot be treated as blue-eyed boy for which chief minister can bend or bypass rules to give away the land of the state," the bench observed. They were of the view that there was lack of transparency in the allotment of land as many CMs prior to Deshmukh had not cleared the project.
On his part Ghai averred, “I respect the judiciary of my country. Supreme Court dismissed our appeal on the grounds that Maharashtra Government should have followed proper governance to enter into a joint venture to run a film school in film city. People also must take precautions before dealing with the state Government than being penalised after 10 years with heavy investment and losses."
So what will happen to Whistling Woods? "It will survive as bright as ever though we may miss the land. Land is never a strength of education, rather education is the strength of any land. We are opening Whistling Woods in many states now and will also carry on movie business in full strength. We will discuss future course of action with our team of lawyers and wait for Government reaction on Supreme Court judgment,” said Ghai.