The Bombay High Court, on Friday, pulled up both the central government as well as the Maharashtra government for locking horns and claiming the ownership of the land at suburban Kanjurmarg, which is being used for constructing the Metro 3 carshed. The HC said none of the governments can claim ownership since the land belongs to the public at the end.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni sought to know why the carshed project should be stayed, especially when the same is meant for the public welfare. The bench was dealing with a plea filed by the central government challenging the decision of the state to use the site at Kanjurmarg for constructing the Metro 3 carshed.
Notably, the controversial Metro 3 line that would connect Colaba and SEEPZ via Bandra was to get its crashed at Aarey Colony, where thousands of trees were chopped down to pave ways for the project by the erstwhile Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.
However, with the change in government, the now Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi decided to shift the carshed from Aarey Colony to Kanjurmarg.
Soon after the land was given in for the project, the central government laid a claim on the ownership of the land. It has claimed, through additional solicitor general (ASG) Anil Singh, that the land belonged to the central government and that the state erred in giving the land for the carshed construction.
On Friday, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni for the state, told the judges that the land records of even the 18th century, recorded that the land was owned by the state government. "Thus, the land belongs to the Maharashtra government and the state can use it for the carshed," the AG submitted.
The submissions were supported by senior counsel Milind Sathe for the MMRDA, who too opposed the central government's plea seeking stay on the carshed work at the Kanjurmarg site. Having heard the contentions, the judges noted that the project in question is for the welfare of the citizenry. "Neither the central government nor the state can say that it is their land. The land belongs to the public since the project in question is being carried out by the money of taxpayers," CJ Datta observed.
"Since the project is being constructed for the welfare of the public, we fail to understand why this project must be stayed," the chief justice added.
The bench would continue hearing the matter.