Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday restrained the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) from carrying out any work on the proposed cycling and jogging track along Powai lake in the city, citing that such work was ”illegal”.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice V G Bisht said the BMC’s project and its reclamation of Powai lake for the same, breached the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules. The high court directed the civic body to ”immediately remove all construction work” already carried out around the lake or in its catchment area, and to restore or reclaim site to its original position.
”In view of law as it stands, the work of cycling track is illegal and the respondent BMC is restrained from carrying out any reclamation,” the bench said.
The court’s order came on two public interest litigations, one filed by activist D Stalin and another by Omkar Supekar, a PhD student from IIT Bombay, challenging the reclamation of the lake and construction of the cycling and jogging track in the area.
Sacrifice private practice and accept judgeship for benefit of litigants and judiciary: Bombay HC justice Shinde tells young lawyers
The petitioners argued that no reclamation or damage to the heritage lake can be permitted when the law clearly stated that there cannot be any construction work within 100 meters of a water body.
The BMC had urged the high court to dismiss the PILs, arguing that it was using technology that was ”porous” and ”did not prevent the flow of water” during the monsoon.
The court also rejected BMC counsel Joel Carlos’ request for a stay on its order. ”Once a court passes an order and stays, it shows the court is not sure. We don’t pass orders like that. We are absolutely sure that the BMC’s work in this case is illegal,” the court noted.