January 12, 2019:
On Friday, Supreme Court issued a notice to the State Govt & ministry of environment & forests (MoEF) seeking replies to an appeal filed against Bombay HC’s refusal to stay construction of the Shivaji memorial off Mumbai’s coast.
The court heard a special leave petition filed by NGO Conservation Action Trust and activist Debi Goenka challenging the Nov 2 order, which was passed on three PILs that challenged the construction, citing high costs to be incurred by a cash-strapped state and environmental concerns.
The HC order had said the project was considered to be of “national importance” and it would leave the issue of expenses to the “wisdom” of the State Govt.
The SLP said the HC had committed a patent error in declining to stay the environmental and coastal regulation zone clearances and reclamation work based on it, as it was granted without complying with the mandatory requirement of a public hearing, although the record shows the Centre had not dispensed with it.
The HC had erred in not granting interim relief, on the ground that it found substance in the state govt’s submission that “the project site is located away from human habitation”, it stated. It also said that “the HC failed to appreciate it was bound to have serious environmental consequences”.
The SLP sought an ad interim ex parte stay of the CRZ clearance and on the commencement of work on its basis.
After hearing the petitioners’ counsel, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjay Kaul directed that the notice to be issued.