Mumbai : The Bombay High Court on Wednesday came down heavily on the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) for violating the norms of coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) by constructing an illegal compound wall around the Kanjurmarg dumping ground. A division bench of Chief Justice DH Waghela and Justice MS Sonak while hearing a petition filed by MCGM slammed the civic body and asked it to spell out when the body is planning to demolish the illegal structure.

The court suggested the corporation to put up fencing around the periphery of the dumping ground.The MCGM through its petition has challenged the order of the Central Government which in 2013, directed the civic body to demolish the compound wall since it falls under the CRZ and as per rules no construction can be done on CRZ land.

Senior counsel MU Kamdar, who appeared for the civic body, accepted the fact that the wall was illegal but he also placed a justification that this was the only dumping ground in the city and wall was constructed to protect the area from encroachment by anti-social elements.

After being asked by the court, Kamdar informed the court that the civic body had approached Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) seeking regularization of the compound wall but the civic body’s application is still pending with them.

However, when the court asked MCZMA whether they possess powers to challenge the central government and the HC’s orders, the counsel representing MCZMA replied with a no.

In the meanwhile, the court pulled up the state government as the counsel who appeared for the government could not answer whether the Forest Authorities have taken over the area near the dumping ground which consist of ‘mangroves’.

Chief Justice DH Waghela said, “You may not be serious but we are very serious over this issue. It has been three years that the norms are being violated blatantly and you are just not bothered.”

Taking a serious note of the issue, the court reprimanded the MCGM and the government and said that it will prosecute everyone who will flout norms irrespective of their positions.

However, while deferring the case until April 25, the court asked MCGM counsel to argue in the next hearing on legal grounds and also declare the time period within which the civic body may demolish the illegal wall.

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Free Press Journal