Mumbai Coastal Road Project: SC Stays Plea on Reclamation Work of BMC, Says “Will Consider Prayers On October 7th”

The Supreme Court observed that a contract is void if prohibited by a statute under a penalty, even without express declaration that the contract is void

A Bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanium of the Supreme Court on Wednesday stated that the Bench will take up the plea seeking a stay on the ongoing reclamation work of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s Coastal Road Project on October 7th 2020, adding that it will take the petitioner(s) prayers into consideration.

Senior Advocate Shyam Diwan appeared for the Applicant(s) Conservation Action Trust (CAT) and Shweta Wagh, founder of Collective for Spatial Alternatives and submitted that in terms of the order of December 17, top court had restrained them from developing it for the time being and that they hadn’t confined themselves to below the road at all.

“Environmental clearance is all about precautionary principle and the High Court has held so. Your lordships have to look at this from the lens of whether it is required or not. The BMC had now filed an additional affidavit which stipulates that the reclamation work area has now been increased to 38.45 hectars. It is bad enough that they don’t have an environmental clearance for this and this is now enhanced below the carriageway, which was earlier 20 hectares,” Diwan added.

On February 25th, the CJI led bench had refused to stay the reclamation work on submissions by Diwan wherein he had asserted that the ongoing reclamation work being done by the authorities surpassed the earlier order of the Supreme Court in order dated 17th December 2019 which had, in effect insinuated a curb on carrying out any development work. The Court had instead sought response from the stakeholders on the plea.

In July last year, the Bombay High court had quashed the Coastal Regulation clearances granted to the coastal road project on account of numerous irregularities, which had been overlooked by the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority.