Bombay High Court

Bombay High Court: A multitude of writ petitions, interim applications, and a couple of Public Interest Litigation (“PIL”) were joined into one PIL, before the division bench of Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya, CJ. * and Arif S Doctor, J., against the Notifications issued by the Government of Maharashtra for changing the names of Aurangabad and Osmanabad and their revenue areas. The division bench upheld the Notifications issued by the Government stating that they were legitimate and followed requisite procedure. The Court found no merit in the petitions and upheld the impugned Notifications, therefore dismissing the petitions.


The instant PIL was joined with two other PILs, sixteen Writ Petitions, and five Interim Applications under those Writ Petitions. The petitioners assailed the validity of the Notifications issued by the Government of Maharashtra (Government), changing the names of the cities Aurangabad and Osmanabad, and their revenue areas, to Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, and Dharashiv, respectively.

An earlier attempt was also made by the Government to change the name of Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar City that was also challenged before the Court, however, the Government rescinded the Notifications issued to that effect at that time.

In 2020, the Divisional Commissioner (Revenue) had submitted a report to the Government regarding renaming of Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar, which had mentioned the earlier attempts made in that regard, and that no-objections were received from the Post Office and Railway Department of Aurangabad against renaming. The report also mentioned the sectional demand of the populace to change the name of Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar due to the city’s historic significance and to honour the contributions made by Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj to the State of Maharashtra.

A cabinet decision was taken in 2022, to change the names of Aurangabad and Osmanabad along with their respective Divisions, Districts, Talukas, and Municipal Corporations and Municipalities. In 2023, the Ministry of Home Affairs (“MHA”) vide two separate Notifications changed the names of the above-mentioned cities. It was these Notifications by the MHA which were challenged before the Court in the instant case.

Court’s Analysis and Judgment

The Court examined whether there existed any statutory framework that provided for naming or renaming of cities and revenue areas.

The Court perused Section 4 of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966 (“MLRC”), and observed that Section 4(1)(vi) empowers the State Government to alter the limits and name of any revenue area. However, subject to the provisions of sub section (iv) according to which every Notification in respect of revenue areas including naming, renaming or altering the name of revenue area, can be issued or made only subject to the conditions of previous publication and application of the provisions of Section 24 of the Maharashtra General Clauses Act, 1904. It was noted that Section 24 of the Maharashtra General Clauses Act provides that where in any State enactment, power to make rules or bylaws is given subject to condition of such rules or bylaws being made after previous publication, then a draft of the proposed rules or bylaws for information to persons likely to be affected needs to be published. It further provides that after publication of draft Notification, the competent authority shall consider any objection or suggestion which may be received by the authority concerned and it is only thereafter that the final Notification can be issued. Thus, so far as the naming/renaming or altering the name of a revenue area is concerned, then there exists, undisputedly a statutory mechanism or framework under Section 4 of the MLRC. However, as for naming and renaming cities and towns, Section 4 does not provide any framework.

The Court examined whether the procedure prescribed for altering the names of revenue areas, in the instant case were followed or not, and found that a draft Notification was issued inviting objections and suggestions against the proposed alteration of names, and the received objections and suggestions were considered before the issuance of the final Notifications.

The Court opined that if an authority is empowered to name a revenue area under a statutory provision, there are no reasons to deny the power for altering the names of a revenue area to such an authority. However, the Court referred to the case of Mohd. Mustaq Ahemad v. State of Maharashtra, 1995 SCC OnLine Bom 386, to clarify that the State Government is empowered to alter the name of a revenue area without altering its limits.

The Court concluded that the statutory provisions for changing the names of the revenue areas in the instant case had been followed without any procedural flaw and declined to subscribe to the submissions made by the petitioners. The Court also referred to the case of Shree Sidhbali Steels Ltd. v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (2011) 3 SCC 193, and concluded based on the findings of that case, that the power conferred on the State Government under Section 4 of the MLRC to name a revenue area by issuing a notification, will include the power to alter or vary the same as well.

The Court held that the impugned Notifications issued by the Government were not illegal and therefore, no interference was warranted against them. The petitions and the interim applications were dismissed and disposed of.

[Shaikh Masud Ismail Shaikh v. Union of India, 2024 SCC OnLine Bom 1291, Decided on 08-05-2024]

*Judgment by: Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya, Chief Justice, Bombay High Court

Advocates who appeared in this case:

Advocates for the petitioners: Satish B Talekar, Madhavi Ayyapan, Kalyani Mangave, YH Muchchala (Senior Advocate), Sangheer Khan, Rashda Ainpore, Amaan Khan, AH Ansari, SS Kazi, MN Shaikh, Saeed S Shaikh, MM Chaudhari, GD Shaikh, Abdul Hamid Ansari, Anil Anturkar (Senior Advocate), Hassan Khan, Ashwin Sawlani, Karim Pathan, Shoyab Shaikh, Shane Pillai.

Advocates for the respondents: Devay Vyas (Additional Solicitor General), Advait M Sethna, DP Singh, Niyanta Trivedi, Amrit Munde, Dr. Birendra B Saraf (Advocate General), PP Kakade (Government Pleader), RA Salunkhe (Additional Government Pleader), NM Mehra (Additional Government Pleader), Ashutosh Mishra, Sandeep Raman, Ranjan Majumdar, Vaibhavi Chaudhary, Anusha P Amin, MM Pabale (Additional Government Pleader), Savita Ganoo, OA Chandurkar (Additional Government Pleader), Vaibhav Charulwar, Pradeep Thorat, Aditi S Naikare.

Must Watch

maintenance to second wife

bail in false pretext of marriage

right to procreate of convict

Criminology, Penology and Victimology book release

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.