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Bombay HC slams collector over demolition of crematorium without notice in Mumbai

Updated on: 21 September,2022 06:04 PM IST  |  Mumbai
PTI |

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Madhav Jamdar noted that Collector Nidhi Chaudhari was aware of the law and rules, and hence she was trying to subvert law

Bombay HC slams collector over demolition of crematorium without notice in Mumbai

Bombay High Court. File Pic


The Bombay High Court on Wednesday came down heavily on the Mumbai Suburban District Collector for demolishing a seaside crematorium used by the fisherfolk community without giving a hearing.


A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Madhav Jamdar noted that Collector Nidhi Chaudhari was aware of the law and rules, and hence she was trying to subvert law.

The HC was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by city resident Chetan Vyas raising concerns over the alleged unauthorized construction of the crematorium on Erangal beach in suburban Malad.


The construction violated the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules, the PIL claimed.

Earlier this month, the high court was informed that the crematorium was demolished after another bench of the HC had ordered joint inspection of the site.
No show-cause notice or hearing was given to the local fisherfolk community, which used the facility, before the action.

Also Read: Bombay HC orders BMC to demolish unauthorised construction at Narayan Rane's bungalow

The Collector told the court that she was following the directions of the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA).

The MCZMA, however, claimed that it had only asked the collector's office to conduct inquiry and take action.

The bench on Wednesday noted that in another matter the HC had directed the same Collector to take action against the buildings violating height restrictions near the airport.

"The same Collector then took a completely different approach. She (Chaudhari) had so many difficulties then. She was under orders of the court but still she had so many questions. We did not take any action then," CJ Datta said.

"But look here. She is a district collector. She cannot be so naive that she cannot tell the MCZMA that the fisherfolk would have to be heard first and a fact-finding inquiry has to be carried out," the court said.

The court also rapped the MCZMA for issuing a letter to the Collector seeking action against the crematorium without inquiry.

"Is it not the duty of the MCZMA as custodian authority to first depute an officer to inquire," the bench said.

The court also went through the death register of the crematorium which showed that it stood on the spot prior to the February 1991 notification about the CRZ rules.

"There were two cremations done at the crematorium on December 25, 1990, and February 16, 1991. This shows that the crematorium was there before the notification," the court noted.
While reserving order on the PIL, the judges also noted that they felt that the court too was at fault in the case.

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