Free Press Journal: Mumbai: Wednesday, March 15, 2017.
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday stayed the construction work of Mumbai Metro 7, being carried out near Bandra Reclamation, for one week. The plot where the work was initiated is allegedly allotted for a Sunni burial ground.
The direction to stay the work was given by a division bench presided over by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Girish Kulkarni. The bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by one Mohammed Furqan Ali Mohammed Qureshi.
In his petition, Qureshi a resident of Bandra (West) has contended that the land in question was earmarked for a cemetery for the Sunni community by the civic body in its draft development plan. On the other hand, the civic body that owns the land had passed the buck to the Maharashtra government making them responsible to allot another piece of land for the cemetery.
According to the petitioner, the civic body’s Preparatory Studies Report (PSR) prepared under the chairmanship of civic chief Ajoy Mehta, had suggested to allot 1.6 hectares land in each ward for construction of burial grounds, cemeteries and crematoriums.
On the previous hearing, Chief Justice Chellur had specifically said in her order that the civic body must not allot the said plot to any third party for any other purpose.
When the matter was called on for hearing on Tuesday, advocate Ashraf Shaikh, counsel representing Qureshi, informed the bench that the government has breached the orders. He furnished a copy of Right to Information (RTI) query and its reply which he had received from the civic body. The copy stated that the government by an order and notification has allotted nearly eight hectares of the total 47 hectares land to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
After perusing the documents, Chief Justice Chellur stayed the work of Metro 7 near Bandra Reclamation till further hearing.
Meanwhile, Chief Justice Chellur also directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to file an affidavit spelling out the number of cemeteries, crematoriums and burial grounds existing in the city. The bench has also sought details of city’s total population with bifurcation of wards.
The matter would be further heard on March 21.