MUMBAI: Cuffe Parade residents have approached Bombay high court to stay construction of Metro III as due process of law for acquiring properties had not been followed. Residents of buildings close to where a Metro station is to be constructed said the government had not acquired land, roads, streets or passages, which will include parks and playgrounds, in accordance with procedure laid down in Metro Railways (Construction of Work) Act, 1978.
The Act, stated the petition, recognized that construction of a Metro Railway was likely to cause tremendous hardships and adversely impact the health of citizens. It recognized the right of those affected to have their objections heard and decided by a competent authority (CA) appointed under the Act, and the right to receive compensation if their objections are rejected.
The petition stated that Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) had made it clear that it will occupy many gardens, streets, roads and playgrounds, including gardens at Cuffe Parade, Oval and Azad Maidan. They also indicated that many roads and streets will be blocked and traffic diverted.
As per procedure laid under the Act, the petition said, on receiving an application from the Metro Railway administration, the Centre has to issue a notification on the acquisitions.
Any person interested in the land, building or street can within the period stipulated object to the construction. The government has to appoint a CA to hear and decide objections, and determine compensation, if any, for land acquisition.
Citizens can file written objections only after publication of the notification. After holding hearings, if objections are rejected, the CA must submit a report to the Centre. The Centre then notifies that the land, buildings and streets should be acquired.
“Sub-section 2 of Section 10 of the Act states it is only on such a declaration being issued that the land, street, or right of user or easementary rights shall vest absolutely in the Central government free from all encumbrances,” read the petition, and only then can the Metro Rail administration enter those properties.
The petition stated that no CA had been appointed nor was a notification issued, whereby the petitioners and other residents of Mumbai could lodge objections, and they were being deprived of their right of way, which they have enjoyed for decades without legal procedure being followed. The petition stated that MMRCL contractors, by entering parks, playgrounds, roads or streets, have acted in an “illegal, arbitrary and high-handed manner”.
The next hearing for admitting the plea is on January 30.
Credits ET Realty