HC says no to floating restaurant
Taking security concerns into account, the Bombay high court recently refused to grant relief to a company seeking permission to anchor a chartered vessel, which was to have a floating restaurant on it, at Girgaum bay.
The petitioner, Back Bay Cruises Private Limited, had moved HC seeking a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the deputy conservator of Mumbai Port Trust to anchor the vessel, MV Avoir.
While dismissing the petition, a division bench of justices DY Chandrachud and AA Sayed cited that the Coast Guard and the Mumbai Maritime Board had expressed concern over the highly sensitive area near Raj Bhavan, where the vessel was anchored.
“No entity can assert a right to anchor a vessel to establish a floating restaurant, particularly where concerns about security are paramount,” the bench observed.
Previously, the deputy commissioner of police, port zone, had granted a NOC to the petitioner subject to compliance with various conditions, including that it would keep clear of Raj Bhavan complex by at least 200 meters and would not interfere with its security.
Although the petitioner contended that the vessel was anchored 554 meters from Raj Bhavan, the court pointed out that, according to authorities, the distance was about 200 meters.
The petitioner responded that the vessel was taken out for sea trials after refurbishing. The vessel developed a snag in the engine which rendered it unsafe to continue with trials as well as return it back to the harbour.
“It is evident that having regard to the serious security concerns involved in the case, the Port Trust is justified in submitting that no permission can be granted,” the judges said.