Bombay High Court Restores Centre's Plea Challenging Maharashtra Govt's Claim On Kanjurmarg Salt Pans

Bombay High Court Restores Centre's Plea Challenging Maharashtra Govt's Claim On Kanjurmarg Salt Pans

The plea was initially dismissed due to incomplete formalities, restored with conditions now; Zoru Bathena advocates for land to be handed over to MMRDA for metro rail depot

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Friday, February 16, 2024, 03:34 AM IST
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Bombay High Court | PTI

The Bombay High Court has restored the petition filed by the Central government challenging the Maharashtra government’s then Revenue Minister’s November 2018 order declaring the state government as the owner of various salt pans in Kanjurmarg in Mumbai.

The Centre’s plea, which was filed in September 2020, was dismissed by the high court registry on January 17, observing that the deputy salt commissioner, who filed the petition on behalf of the Central government had not completed certain formalities and hence is “not interested in pursuing” it.

HC restores petition

The HC restored the petition, subject to conditions while hearing an application by the Centre seeking restoration of its plea. “Writ Petition is restored subject to the condition of removal of office objections within four weeks from today,” Justice Sandeep Marne said on January 12. The Centre will now have to remove office objections which means it will have to complete certain departmental requirements to ensure documents annexed to the petition are made legible.

Centre claimed that the petition was rejected in haste The petition is voluminous and the relevant documents are either old or illegible or handwritten. Hence typing those documents was time-consuming, it said adding that the other office objections had already been removed.

Intervention plea filed by Zoru Bathena

An intervention plea was filed by Zoru Bathena saying that the Union and the state were initiating litigation where there was none. He claimed that the land should be handed over to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for the Metro Rail Depot. The intervention plea was opposed by the Centre that an intervenor’s role comes in later.

Center has challenged the order passed by the Konkan divisional commissioner in May 2018, based on which then revenue minister Chandrakant Patil passed the order in 2018 over the land ownership.

Following the revenue minister’s order, on October 1, 2020, then Mumbai suburban district collector under the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government decided to transfer the 102-acre Kanjurmarg salt pan land to the MMRDA for the Metro car shed project.

In 2019, Devendra Fadnavis-led government announced plans to build the metro car shed at suburban Aarey Milk Colony.

The MVA, in 2020, scrapped the plan and sought Kanjurmarg land for the car shed and an interchange station for Metro lines 3 (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ), Metro line 4 (Kasarwadavali-Wadala) and Metro Line 6 (Lokhandwala-Vikhroli).

However, the high court on December 16, 2020, stayed the October 1, 2020, land transfer order to build a metro car shed. The bench led by then Chief Justice Dipankar Datta also said it would decide on who owned the land, the state or the Central government.

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