SC rejects plea for alternative site to Aarey Colony for Mumbai Metro-3 car shed
However, the main petition challenging a Bombay high court (HC) order – which dismissed the NGO’s petition in October – is still pending before the SC.Updated: Apr 16, 2019 01:16 IST
The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday dismissed an application filed by a non-government organisation (NGO) seeking alternative sites for the construction of a Metro car shed at Aarey Milk Colony.
The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, justice Deepak Gupta and justice Sanjiv Khanna said alternate options had already been looked into and found unviable by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) and a state-appointed technical committee.
However, the main petition challenging a Bombay high court (HC) order – which dismissed the NGO’s petition in October – is still pending before the SC.
The construction of the car shed at Aarey for Metro-3 (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) has been at the centre of protests by citizens and environmentalists, who are opposed to it.
The application was filed as a special leave petition (SLP) by members of the Aarey Conservation Group, challenging the change of land use across 33 hectares in Aarey, where trees will be cut to build the car shed.
Suchitra Chitale, counsel for MMRCL, said, “The argument did not have any merit and the bench highlighted that.”
Jatin Zaveri, the petitioner’s lawyer, said notices issued to respondents remained unanswered. “MMRCL and the state only reiterated the story of 2015. Over the past four years, there have been several developments with the introduction ofDP 2034, and alternate areas for the car shed were opened up. But, the SC bench did not agree with us and dismissed the application.”
Zaveri said during the next hearing, they will raise the argument that Aarey is a forest, citing SC’s order in the TN Godavarman case from 1996.
Environmentalists now plan to campaign against the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) tree authority and challenge tree-felling permissions at Aarey.
“We will follow up with the newly-formed tree authority and submit objections,” said Amrita Bhattacharjee, a member of the NGO, adding that petitioners will seek the next date of hearing at the earliest.
Stalin D, director of NGO Vanashakti, said, “This is a sad day for the half-a-decade-long efforts.”
First Published: Apr 16, 2019 00:59 IST