The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Maharashtra government to file a reply to a public interest litigation that has challenged the construction of a cycle track at Powai lake in the city by claiming such construction was in breach of Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules.
A vacation bench led by Justice SJ Kathawala directed the state to submit its reply affidavit to the PIL, filed by IIT Bombay PhD students Omkar Supekar and Abhishek Tripathi, and in the interim, stayed the construction work on the cycle track till November 18.
The PIL seeks that the project be stayed till the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the state government established in court that it was not in violation of any environmental law, including Wetlands Rules.
The petitioners cited views of several environmental experts stating that the lake was a wetland and must be protected.
On Monday, the BMC's counsel, senior advocate Aspi Chinoy, told the vacation bench that the project was not in breach of any rule, and further said Powai lake was a man made water body and not a designated wetland.
The state's counsel, Jyoti Chavan, sought time to file an affidavit clarifying the state government's stand on the status of Powai lake.
The court then directed that all work on the cycle track must be stopped till November 18, Chavan said.
A regular HC bench is likely to hear the PIL after the court opens on November 15, post Diwali vacations
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