Bombay high court on Friday dismissed a PIL challenging a Mumbai Metro car shed on 33 hectares of land at Aarey Colony in Goregaon.
A PIL was filed by activist Amrita Bhattacharjee and others with tree activist Zoru Bathena supporting the fight to prevent Mumbai’s only large green Kung from being destroyed with few thousand trees slated to be cut and permission already granted for several hundreds to be cut.
A bench of Justices SC Dharmadhikari and PD Naik upheld the state’s decision to change the user of the land presently covered with trees to a metro car shed for the underground Mumbai Metro 3 line.
Important Statement From High Court Regarding Metro Car Shed
- The HC clarified that the state had imposed certain conditions and directed that the MMRCL must strictly abide by these conditions while constructing the car shed. “We are not In a position to accept arguments made by activists counsel Janak Dwarkadas that Environment Protection Act (EPA) and Forest conservation act have been given a go by while Issuing impugned notification while permitting change of user,” said the HC in a bulky judgment.
- “If any condition is violated then irrespective of construction carried out at the site the state government and BMC shall not be prohibited from exercising statutory powers particularly under MRTP Act and MMC act. They can refuse development permission in the event any for use of construction as car shed.,”
- Dwarkadas also relied on a report of the technical committee and project report of MMRCL to argue against the car shed’s location. The court said the concerns expressed by the committee are addressed by the state in its conditions. “The modification is not unconditional. Neither notice allows free user as is projected before us,” the HC held. “We have seen that the conditions rather safeguard the environment and ecology,” said the HC directing that “no commercial user is permitted.”
- It also added that it was “not possible to deduce that land a forest based on some amendment plans of this park,” said the Judgment. The lands have been transferred from the Aarey Milk colony to SGNP , it was argued. “We have other material on record which would denote that the metro car Depot site forms part of Aarey Colony and doesn’t form part of SGNP.,” the HC judgment said.
- “We perused documents of BMC in Marathi. BMC can’t be said to be disapproving of change or alteration of land,” said the HC after analysing the arguments of the petitioner that a BMC committee had raised concerns. Commuters are not being ignored and this is apparent from conditions imposed by the committee, the judges observed in the judgment.