The redevelopment of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium in Worli has come under the high court scanner.
The Bombay high court on Wednesday court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) alleging that the government and civic officials had connived with the National Sports Club of India and granted it permission for the redevelopment work.
The PIL, filed by Society for Promotion of Equality, Awareness and Rights, an NGO, claimed that the stadium’s redevelopment is in violation of the Environment Protection Act, coastal regulation zone rules and development control rules. The Worli stadium, which is a recreation ground, falls under the green zone category as per the development plan of 2001.
“After the redevelopment, the stadium, which was earlier 3.5 lakh sqft, has been reduced to a smaller ground, making it impossible for sports activities to be held there,” the PIL claimed.
A division bench of justice Ranjana Desai and justice Rajesh Ketkar on Wednesday directed the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority to file their reply within two weeks. Since 1943, the public has been using the stadium for various sporting activities, but now they are denied entry.
“The National Sports Club of India has usurped land under the guise of redevelopment. The club has constructed two buildings in the stadium and restricted entry to only their members,” the petition claimed.
The NGO has prayed that the municipal corporation be directed to demolish the reconstructed stadium and restore it to its original form. It has also sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the approvals given by authorities concerned.
The National Sports Club of India should also be directed to allow the general public access to the stadium and the buildings constructed there, the petition prayed.