Mumbai Metro III: High Court asks Centre, State to make their stand clear
Regarding a May 23 order preventing any drilling work being carried out beyond the boundaries of the Atash Behrams, the HC has also granted ad-interim relief till August 8
After hearing out both parties on July 25 in the Atash Behrams versus Metro-III petition, the Bombay High Court on Saturday released an order stating that even though the petition to prevent the Metro-III line from going under either of the holy fire temples has been pending for nearly three months, the Central and state governments have till now failed to make their stand clear on the impending issue.
"The fourth respondent is an instrumentality and an agency of the State as its only shareholders are the state government and the Central government," said an order passed by the HC bench comprising of Justice A S Oka and Justice R I Chagla, adding, "We find that though the petition is pending since the last week of May 2018 and though it involves a challenge on the basis of Article 25 of the Constitution of India by a minority community, there is no stand taken on the challenge, both by the Central government and the state government. It is necessary for both the governments to take a stand on this aspect." Navroz Seervai, Shyam Mehta and Zerick Dastur had appeared for the petitioners.
The court further directed the Centre and state to file a reply making their stand clear, either by filing an affidavit on or before August 4, or through an oral statement before the court on August 6, "when the matter is taken up for hearing to interim relief." Regarding a May 23 order preventing any drilling work being carried out beyond the boundaries of the Atash Behrams, the HC has also granted ad-interim relief till August 8.
The court said, "There is more than one factor which requires us to take a view that an ad-interim relief will have to be granted," further noting that, "if the work of construction is allowed to progress and if the apprehension expressed in the petition [regarding damage to Atash Behrams] turns out to be true, it will create an irreversible situation." The court also said the VJTI report on the fire temples will be very relevant, "considering the prayer for interim relief."
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