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Parsis in Mumbai move SC to realign Metro-3 tunnel below Atash Behrams

A special leave petition was filed challenging the HC order, which was mentioned before Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

mumbai Updated: Dec 04, 2018 08:42 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
Parsi community,Atash Behram,Metro-3 tunnel
According to the petition, the Metro tunnel will affect the spiritual sanctity of the Atash Behram(HT File)

Three days after the Bombay high court (HC) rejected their petition, members of the Parsi community moved the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday, seeking the realignment of a tunnel for the Metro-3 line that goes below two revered fire temples in the city.

A special leave petition was filed challenging the HC order, which was mentioned before Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. The case is listed for an urgent hearing on Friday.“The [Metro] work goes on at a speed of 6 to 10 metres a day and the tunnel boring machine (TBM) is 100 metres away from Anjuman Atash Behram currently.

In 12 to 15 days, the TBM can be next to the fire temple, which is why we moved the Supreme Court when the stay wasn’t granted,” said Jamshed Sukhadwala, the petitioner in this case, who is represented by a team of lawyers headed by Zerick Dastur.

According to the petition, the Metro tunnel will affect the spiritual sanctity of the Atash Behram and could also cause structural damage to the heritage structure of two fire temples, Wadiaji Atash Behram and Anjuman Atash Behram at Princess Street and Kalbadevi respectively.

Atash Behram is the title accorded to the highest grade of consecrated fire in Zoroastrianism. The Wadiaji Atash Behram is 188 years old while the Anjuman Atash Behram is 121 years old. They are among eight Atash Behrams in India, four of which are in Mumbai.

The HC had accepted an expert panel report that recommended tunnelling be carried out with certain safeguards in place to ensure no damage is caused to the temples.

As per the existing Metro plans, the tunnel, which is part of the 45-km Colaba-Bandra-Seepz underground Metro-3 route, passes within the premises of these two fire temples. The community has asked for a seven and half metre realignment, of which three and a half metres has been approved.

However, the community wants the tunnel to not be under the premises of the Atash Behrams and instead be laid out outside the temple’s boundary wall.

First Published: Dec 04, 2018 00:36 IST