Sunday, January 13, 2019

SC stops work on Shivaji memorial

The Maharashtra government’s ambitious plan to build a memorial to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the Arabian Sea has received a major jolt with the Supreme Court on Friday ordering the state not to proceed with the work on the site.

The order of the Supreme Court bench consisting of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SK Kaul came while hearing a special leave petition filed by the Conservation Action Trust (CAT).

The CAT has filed a petition in Bombay High Court requesting the court to scrap the project as the state government was going ahead with it without proper environmental clearances. The petition requested the court to grant an interim stay on the work of the project. Though the Bombay High Court admitted the petition filed by CAT, it did not grant the stay as asked by the petitioner. The CAT then challenged the Bombay High Court’s decision in the apex court.

Though a written order passed by the court only mentions issuing of notices to state and Central government, the bench orally asked the state government not to proceed with further work.

The state government’s chief standing counsel in the Supreme Court, Nishant Kanteshwarkar, confirmed the oral order passed by the Supreme Court. The court asked about the status of the project on which, CAT’s counsel told the bench, though work order has been issued and bhoomi poojan done, the actual work has not started.

The Shivaji memorial is coming up on 16-acre rock which is located 1.2 kilometre south west of Raj Bhavan. The state government plans to reclaim three-acre land for the memorial.

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