A bench of Justices Shantanu Kemkar and Sarang Kotwal was hearing a bunch of PILs challenging the construction of the memorial.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Tuesday asked the central government and the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) to file their responses to petitions alleging that several clearances for the proposed Shivaji memorial off the Arabian Sea had been given unlawfully.
A bench of Justices Shantanu Kemkar and Sarang Kotwal was hearing a bunch of PILs challenging the construction of the memorial. The petitioners’ counsel, Aspi Chinoy, informed the court that the MCZMA, Centre and the state government had granted several approvals to the project in violation of CRZ norms.
Advocate Chinoy told the bench that the state and MCZMA had granted approvals without conducting a public hearing. Citizens can raise objections to and give suggestions on a public project and it is mandatory as per environmental and coastal regulation zone norms, advocate Chinoy said.
As per the plea, the Maharashtra government had issued a notification in February 2015 stating that there was no need for a public hearing for the Shivaji memorial project. “However, the MCZMA and Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) granted several necessary approvals for the project between November 2014 and January 2015 without the public hearing,” advocate Chinoy said. “This means that the authorities had been granting approvals in anticipation that the norm on public hearings would be amended. This can’t be considered lawful,” he argued. The court was also informed that earlier this year, another bench of the high court had directed both the Centre and MCZMA to file their replies, but they had failed to do so in over six months now.
The bench, therefore, directed the government and the MCZMA to file their replies within four weeks.