Bombay HC Asks Govt To Explore Feasibility Of Goregaon Land For New High Court Complex

Bombay HC Asks Govt To Explore Feasibility Of Goregaon Land For New High Court Complex

The bench, said it will not stop the government from declaring the currently allotted area at Bandra as a special area for public project of vital importance.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Friday, April 12, 2024, 08:28 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | File pic

The Bombay High Court has asked the Maharashtra government to explore the availability of land at Goregaon for the new high court complex and to provide a rough sketch of its accessibility from the proposed coastal road. 

A bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor asked the state to consider the alternate site even as considerable progress has made to start the project for the new High Court building at Bandra Kurla Comlex (BKC). 

The court clarified that it is not stopping the government from declaring the currently allotted plot at BKC as a special area for “public project of vital importance”. 

The HC was hearing a petition filed by Advocate Ahmad Abdi seeking to initiate contempt of court action against the government for non-compliance with a 2019 High Court order on land allotment. The HC, in January 2019, had directed the government to take a decision on offering a large and convenient plot of land for the construction of a new High Court complex.

The government, in May 2023, asked the High Court administration to take advance posession of certain land in Bandra East for this purpose. However, it was informed on March 11 this year that the land was not vacant and contained staff quarters for government officials, some of whom even worked in the HC. 

During the hearing on Friday, state advocate general Borendra Saraf informed the bench that the total area of the proposed high court building is approximately 30.16 acres, and around 13.73 acres is expected to be available for possession by January 2025.

Land Allotment Challenges And Revisiting Options For New High Court Building

The chief justice said that the  State of Chhattisgarh had allotted 100 acres of land for the new HC building.

Saraf then pointred out that the government had earlier proposed to allot land in Goregaon which was about 100 acres but it was rejected by the High Court due to accessibility issues.

Abdi pointed put that the Goregaon plot is vacant and was around 300 acres. 

To this, Saraf said that a large part of the Goregaon plot was allotted to Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU) and that the land was not acceptable to the High Court.

The judges, however, expressed interest and aske dthe government to revisit the possibility of using the Goregaon plot, particularly if it can be accessed via the proposed coastal road. 

High Court Requests Government's Plan For Accessibility To New Bombay High Court Complex

Accordingly, the Court requested the government to provide a rough sketch illustrating the accessibility from the proposed coastal road. “If from coastal road there is a need to built bridges for easy accessibility then it can be considered,” CJ suggested. 

“At this rate we will have Hc building in 2030,” CJ remarked after looking at the proposed timeline for handing over the vacant plot at BKC. 

Saraf suggested that the proposal for Goregaon plot can be discussed at an administrative meeting with government officials and pointed out the work already undertaken at Bandra.

The bench, however, said it will not stop the government from declaring the currently allotted area at Bandra as a special area for public project of vital importance. 

“This (Goregaon land) is only a possibility to explore,” CJ said. 

Saraf said that the BKC project will be declared as a "public project of vital importance" in June 2024 after elections. 

State Government Initiates Revamp And Redevelopment of Bandra Government Colony

The State Government has taken a policy decision 'to revamp and redevelop' the entire larger plot of land of the Government Colony at Bandra, admeasuring about 89.75 acres under Special Project with the help of the Economic Development Co-operation Fund (EDCF), from the Republic of South Korea. The plot of land earmarked for construction of New Bombay High Court Complex at Bandra forms part of the same, said the affidavit filed by the state. 

The HC has kept the matter for hearing on June 26. 

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