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No public hearing on Jaitapur: HC

mumbai Updated: Jul 16, 2011 01:10 IST
HT Correspondent

The Bombay high court on Friday refused to grant any relief to legal-social organisation Indian People’s Tribunal, which wanted to conduct a public hearing about the complaints of locals against proposed Nuclear Power Plant at Jaitapur in Konkan.

The NGO, which is working on access to justice for marginalised people for two decades, wanted to conduct a public hearing on March 6 and 7, 2011 after local uproar against the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant.

The organisation had moved the high court after the local administration refused to allow them to conduct the public hearing. In a petition filed through advocate Gayatri Singh, they had sought orders to district collector and superintendent of police, Ratnagiri to allow them to conduct the public hearing amidst protest, which had turned violent.

The division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Ranjana Desai on Friday rejected their plea observing, “The state government is not expected to grant you permission to hold public hearing when there is a severe law and order problem like what happened in Mumbai on Wednesday.”

The judges were referring to three serial blasts in the city that killed 17 persons and injured more than 131.

The court disposed of the petition recording an assurance from advocate general Ravi Kadam that the local administration would decide within three weeks, if any fresh application is tendered by the NGO seeking permission to hold the public hearing.

During the course of the arguments, Gayatri Singh contended that the local administration had allowed a meeting of the ruling party during the same period, but tried to suppress voice of others who are opposed the nuclear power plant.

She submitted that the administration could not continue to deny permission to hold a public hearing.

Though, Kadam admitted that there cannot be a permanent ban on public meetings, he pointed out that what the NGO want to do is to conduct a public hearing chaired by two retired judges, who will hear grievances of locals and pass a verdict. They also expect the local officers to attend the hearing and reply to complaints received by them, the advocate general added.