Bombay High Court Dismisses Plea By Politician Against Jetty Near Janjira Fort

Bombay High Court Dismisses Plea By Politician Against Jetty Near Janjira Fort

Bombay High Court has said that the complainant is neither affected nor a member of fishermen community, who he claims are affected by the jetty

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Monday, February 26, 2024, 02:53 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | File

Dismissing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by a local politician challenging the construction of a jetty near the Janjira Fort in the Raigad District, the Bombay High Court has said that he is neither affected nor a member of fishermen community, who he claims are affected by the jetty. The court also noted that MLA Mahesh Mohite had not made Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) a party to his petition considering his claim that the fort was a protected monument.  

The petition contended that the Maritime Board had awarded the tender for the construction of the jetty to DVP Infra Project Private Ltd. This jetty was intended to be built at the entrance of the fort, facing the sea. The plea contended that fishermen's community had conveyed their concerns to Mohite through a letter regarding the construction, prompting his approach to the court.

Rehabilitation of affected local residents

The plea sought directions to the State government and Maritime Board for the rehabilitation of affected locals, absorption of fishermen into job opportunities arising from tourism, and allocation of new shops and business opportunities, such as operating ferries. The bench questioned petitioner why ASI was not added as respondent to the PIL. Also, why was the plea not filed by the fishermen's society, Mahalaxmi Machimar society. 

“Is ASI a party? The petition could have been filed by fishermen. Why should we entertain the petition of a politician?” asked a bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor. The judges also said the court was not a platform for a political field, emphasising that the politician, who was not a member or office bearer of the fishermen's society, should not be utilising the legal proceedings for political purposes. 

Fishermen asked to seek remedy under law

The court dismissed the petition and asked the fishermen to seek appropriate remedy under the law. The court noted in its order: “The fishermen who are said to be affected have already formed a cooperative society for their welfare. If they were to be affected then it was for society to take up the matter to all forums including authorities and if advised to recourse to action available under law.” 

The court clarified that “Notwithstanding the dismissal of the petition it is open for society or any other fisherman or person affected in the vicinity to take up the cause before any forum or court as available”.

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