Vrindavan, 2017.08.01 (VT): Vrindavan lovers breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday as the Allahabad High Court accepted the petition challenging the merger of the Vrindavan and Mathura civic bodies.
The merger of the two municipalities is unconstitutional, claimed Shri Anuruddha Chaturvedi, during the hearing in the Allahabad High court. Shri Chaturvedi claimed that under Article 243 P of the Constitution of India, two cities or districts can be merged to constitute a metropolitan city, whereas Article 243 Q states that a Municipal Corporation can be formed only in a larger urban area.
Shri Chaturvedi is the counsel for the petitioner Mahant Madhumangal Sharan Das Shukla, who has filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Allahabad High Court against the merger of the two cities, claiming that because of their different cultural backgrounds, they were incompatible.
After hearing Shri Chaturvedi on the first day of August, Allahabad High Court sought replies from the state government and Mathura district administration. The case was heard by the division bench of the Chief Justice D.B. Bhosle and Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta.
The petitioner challenged the Uttar Pradesh Governments decision of merging the Mathura and Vrindavan municipalities to constitute an integrated municipal corporation in its place.
The petitioner in the case had earlier challenged the government’s merger proposal by claiming that the two holy cities have very different characteristics and hence should not be merged. Subsequently, the Agra divisional commissioner, director of urban bodies, and the UP panchayati raj officer were made respondents in the case. Giving them four weeks to file their replies, the court fixed August 30 as the next date of hearing.
In his PIL, the petitioner Mahant Madhu Mangal Sharan Das Shukla had urged the high court to stay the government notification of merging the two civic bodies by arguing that both the cities were culturally different and had different economic conditions and that a merger will lead to an identity crisis for the residents of Vrindavan.
“Mathura has been influenced by Buddhists and Jains, whereas the residents of Vrindavan follow Vaishnavism. The merger will lead to the creation of an urban jungle in Vrindavan,” the petitioner had said.
The petitioner had further requested the court to order the government to declare Vrindavan as a heritage city and to upgrade it to grade ‘A’ to its Nagar Palika.
Shukla further claimed that before issuing the said notification, the authorities had not heard the objections from residents and councilors. “Before issuing the notification, the government ought to have taken into consideration the number of people, population density and other important factors in the area which were necessary for turning a municipal council into a municipal corporation.”
In a meeting organized on 16th April at Rangji Mandir’s Bare Bagicha, Shri Shukla was authorized by the Braj-Vrindavan Heritage Alliance to legally challenge the decision of the Government in the Allahabad High Court.
Acharya Naresh Narayan, the National convener of the BVHA said, “The merger is not only against the spiritual interests of Vrindavan, it will compromise with its brand value too.”
“It will affect the economy of Vrindavan too, as Vrindavan has become its own brand, and doesn’t rely on Mathura for development and business,” said Acharya.