The city could lose its ancient Magathane Caves at Kandivli, with the Bombay High Court on Wednesday dismissing a public interest litigation that sought protection for the monument.
“It has lost all its past glory. What is there to protect now?” asked a division bench of Justice F.I. Rebello and Justice J.H. Bhatia, while dismissing the petition filed by Buddhist activist Ashok Bhate.
Bhate had asked for the caves to be declared protected monuments under the Ancient Monument, Archeological Sites and Remains Act. Archaeological Survey of India replied that it was too late to declare Magathane a protected site as it was highly eroded and encroached on.
The bench noted that the ASI had admitted that the caves had historical importance, but they also said nothing of historical or cultural importance was left now.
The ASI contended that for a site to be protected, it should have art, architecture, inscription or historical information of national importance.
While Bhate said the caves had ancient inscriptions and paintings, an ASI team found most of the carvings damaged due to the rock’s poor quality.