The Bombay high court on Friday paved the way for the return of national and international football to Mumbai by dismissing a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging construction of a football stadium on part of the Cooperage ground.
The Western India Football Association (WIFA), which manages the Cooperage ground, and the Oval Cooperage Residents Association were locked in a legal battle for the last eight years over the former’s plan to build a stadium and a clubhouse.
On July 3, 2003, the then Maharashtra CM Sushilkumar Shinde had cleared WIFA’s proposal to build a stadium on 12,052 sq mt area of the 28,412 sq mt Cooperage ground. The residents association, however, filed a PIL contending that a stadium would further reduce the already scanty open spaces in the city.
On Friday, a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and justice DG Karnik dismissed the association’s plea stating that there were no legal provisions specifying mandatory open spaces for the urban population.
“The planning authority consisting of experts have not fixed any specific ratio of open spaces. In the absence of specific material, we can’t hold that the city requires a particular percentage of open spaces and that grant of building permission in the present case would result in diminution of open spaces to such an extent as to affect right to life,” the bench noted.