Tuesday, January 31, 2017

HC slaps Rs 50,000 fine on activist seeking more info on Metro 3

Times of India: Mumbai: Tuesday, January 31, 2017.
Bombay high court on Monday imposed a cost of Rs 50,000 on an activist, who sought more information on the Metro III project pertaining to Aarey where the proposed car shed will be built.
A bench of chief justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Girish Kulkarni dismissed a petition by Khar resident Zoru Bathena noting that he has already filed a public interest litigation raising grievances about tree-cutting in the city and "under the guise of non-furnishing of information under the Right to Information Act is again seeking direction not to cut the trees.'' The bench said Bathena "intends to make this petition as a platform for securing the information."
According to Bathena's petition, the urban development department issued a notice on December 29, 2016 calling for objections and suggestions. Under RTI Bathena learnt that authorities propose to cut over 5000 trees and to delete non-development zone area of 3.30 lakh square meters for the car shed at Aarey which is one of the few natural open lands left in Mumbai and contains abundance of flora and fauna. He urged direction to the authorities to furnish him more information. His advocate Kainaz Irani urged the bench to "at least stay implementation of the notice'' so that he can submit his objections.
The bench said Bathena could have made the plea in the PIL and questioned why he had not approached the appellate authorities under RTI. "This is nothing but an attempt to cut short the procedure which is prescribed under the RTI Act. This is another litigation to fish out some information,'' it said. Bathena is directed to pay the amount to the Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority.