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Bandra-Versova Sea Link Extension: Bombay HC Holds Permission Granted For Casting Yard Near Juhu Beach Illegal [Read Judgment]

Nitish Kashyap
27 April 2019 2:48 PM GMT
Bandra-Versova Sea Link Extension: Bombay HC Holds Permission Granted For Casting Yard Near Juhu Beach Illegal [Read Judgment]
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The Bombay High Court has held the permission granted for construction of a casting yard near Juhu beach as illegal. Although permission for the said casting yard was granted by the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA), Court deemed it to be illegal. The casting yard was proposed to be constructed as part of the Worli-Bandra-Versova sea-link project which would serve as...

The Bombay High Court has held the permission granted for construction of a casting yard near Juhu beach as illegal. Although permission for the said casting yard was granted by the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA), Court deemed it to be illegal.

The casting yard was proposed to be constructed as part of the Worli-Bandra-Versova sea-link project which would serve as an extension of the existing Bandra Worli sea-link, extending the same from Bandra to Versova, having a length of 9.6 km.

Division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nadrajog and Justice NM Jamdar allowed the writ petition filed by environmental activist Zoru Darius Bathena questioned the decision to grant permission for the said casting yard and the subsequent possession of 78,000 square metre of area was handed over by the Collector to Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation.

List of activities permitted at the casting yard was reflected in the minutes of meeting conducted by MCZMA in which the said decision to grant permission was taken. The meeting took place on February 26, 2019 and the permission for construction of a site office, a temporary jetty etc, on the casting yard was also granted.

Senior Advocate Gayatri Singh appeared on behalf of the petitioner and submitted that CRZ notification dated January 6, 2011, lays emphasis on conservation and supervision of coastal stretches and restrictions, constructions, operations and processes in CRZ-II. The said casting area also lies in CRZ -II.

Clause (xi) of Regulation 3 prohibits construction activities in CRZ-I except those specified in Regulation 8. The said Regulation stipulates norms for regulating permissible activities under notification and qua CRZ-II permits building to be permitted only on the landward side of the existing roads or landward side of the existing structures, Gayatri Singh argued.

Court examined the said notification and various definitions under CRZ-I, CRZ-II and observed-

"Meaning thereby, permissible activities relatable to buildings in CRZ-II has to be only towards the landward side of the existing road and landward side of the existing authorized structures. Thus, at the heart of the debate lies: What meaning has to be ascribed to the word 'to build' or the word 'buildings'."

Once the bench looked into the actual nature of the construction activity and the impact it would have on the environment, Court said-

"The casting of slabs would obviously require a hard ground surface and we see no escape from the common sense conclusion that the nature of the activities is akin to a building activity and the word 'building' must be given a wider meaning to give effect to the purpose of the regulations.

Notwithstanding it being stated that the yard would be a temporary yard, but the foot prints left by the yard after the machinery brought to site is removed and temporary structures are removed on completion of the work, would be of a permanent and lasting nature adversely impacting the coastal stretch in question."

Thus, Court concluded that Regulation 8 permits building in CRZ but the same is allowed only on the landward side of the existing road or the existing structure-

"It may also be true that clause (iv) of the Regulation 3 permits land reclamation and bunding for constructing sea-links and for facilities that are essential to the permissible activities, but that would not mean that pertaining to a sea-link, under the garb of ancillary activities land reclamation is permitted and that too on an area admeasuring 78,392.12 sq. mtrs."

Therefore, the permission granted by MCZMA was declared illegal and quashed.

[Read Judgment]


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