Eight months after the municipal corporation was forced to stop the beautification work at Shivaji Park, the Bombay High Court cleared the decks for restarting the second phase of the project.
On Thursday, the high court dismissed a public interest litigation filed by businessman Durgesh Warty and art director Manoj Govekar alleging that the corporation had awarded the contract for the second phase without inviting tenders.
The high court observed that there were no irregularities in awarding the contracts for the beautification work in view of subsequent approval for the expenditure by the civic standing committee.
The high court also vacated an interim order, dated April 20, staying the beautification work, which means the BMC can now fix another mural on the wall adjoining main gate of the open ground.
The BMC had allocated around Rs 3.56 crore for general beautification of the 27.91-acre park and Rs 1.28 crore for fixing two huge murals on walls adjoining its main gate.
On Thursday, counsel for the petitioner, Girish Godbole, contended that the BMC had awarded the contracts for fixing murals and carrying out general beautification work without inviting tenders and had also failed to follow procedure specified in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Act before sanctioning the expenditure.
Moreover, Godbole added, no construction can be put up at Shivaji Park, which is notified under the city's development plan as an open ground.
But KK Singhavi, counsel for the BMC, pointed out that the work of for the general beautification was awarded to the contractor appointed for the ward concerned, and there was no irregularity.
The senior lawyer also contended that work for fixing murals, for which post facto sanction of the standing committee was obtained, was taken up on urgent basis in view
of the 50th anniversary of formation of the Maharashtra state.
The high court also observed that nearly 65% of the general beautification work and 50% of the mural fixing work has been completed.