In what could spell serious trouble for the Maharashtra government, the Bombay High Court on Monday said the city collector should consider withdrawing his orders by which he has transferred a parcel of land at Kanjurmarg to the MMRDA for constructing the Metro III carshed. The High Court has granted time till Wednesday to the Maharashtra government to clarify its stand on the contentious issue.The court has further ordered the parties to maintain status quo at the site till Wednesday.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni further indicated that if the collector fails to withdraw his orders and grants a fresh hearing to both the Union as well as the state governments then the court would pass "appropriate orders."
"Either the collector has to withdraw his orders or we will pass appropriate orders holding that his orders not conforming with the due procedure," CJ Datta said.
The comment came while noting that the collector in his October 1 orders did not mention the pendency of a suit regarding its title.
"The collector cannot turn a blind eye. There must be a proper exercise of power," the chief justice said.
"Thus, we are of the prima facie view that the matter goes back to the collector and he grants a fresh hearing to all the concerned and passes an order accordingly," the court added.
Notably, both the Union as well as the State governments have locked horns over the title of the 102 acres of land parcel at suburban Kanjurmarg. Both have them claim to be the "rightful" owner of the land in question.
Their legal spat intensified after the city collector on October 1 transferred the land to MMRDA to construct the carshed for the controversial Metro III line, which would connect Colaba to SEEPZ via Bandra.
The carshed was shifted from Aarey Colony to Kanjurmarg after immense opposition from citizen groups and activists.
The erstwhile BJP government had even ordered cutting of thousands of trees at Aarey to pave the way for the carshed there. However, with change in the government, the project has now been shifted to Kanjurmarg.
The matter has been adjourned till Wednesday for the state to spell its stand on the issue.