Every old structure not a heritage property: Gujarat High Court in PIL to protect Vijaya Hazare bungalow

The Court was hearing a PIL seeking protection of the 121-year-old structure Pushpakoot, the residence of former Indian cricketer Vijay Hazare.
Gujarat High Court
Gujarat High Court

The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday said that hundreds of properties from the British area continue to stand even today, but not all of them can be declared as heritage structures. [Heritage Trust v. State of Gujarat].

A Bench of Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Aniruddha Mayee made the observation while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking protection of the 121-year-old structure Pushpakoot, the residence of former Indian cricketer Vijay Hazare

The Court noted that the petitioner trust failed to do any research work to show that the bungalow, in which Hazare resided for nearly 40 years, was a heritage structure or one that was protected under the Gujarat Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1965.

It pulled up the petitioner trust for coming to court with a 'newspaper report' which stated that the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) is likely to demolish the structure in question.

"You haven't done any research work. If you really are interested in saving such properties, it should be like a movement. Making one or two representations to the authorities would not work," Chief Justice Agarwal told the counsel representing the petitioner.

The observation was made after the Bench noted that the petitioner did nothing to save the structure in question, prior to the news report about its imminent demolition. It went on to note,

"You cannot ask the government to declare someone's property as a heritage one. There are many properties which are constructed in the year 1800 and before. Every property cannot be declared a heritage one. There is a procedure for it."

The Bench also sought to know whether the structure is documented in some book or if it had any historical value. The counsel was, however, unable to give clear answers.

"We will not teach you how to go about in this matter. There are so many properties from British era, which are more than 200 years old. But every property is not a heritage property," the CJ underscored.

The Bench adjourned the matter till October 4 for the petitioners to produce the said material on record.

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