The Supreme Court on Monday clarified that it had not imposed a stay order on the construction of a metro car shed at Aarey Milk Colony in Mumbai, Bar and Bench reported. The car shed is being constructed for Mumbai Metro’s third line.
On October 7, the court had imposed a stay on the cutting of trees in the area till October 21. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta clarified that the status quo it had ordered on October 7 pertained only to tree-cutting and not the metro depot project.
The court also extended the interim order against tree felling till November 15. It directed the government to submit a report on the status of the trees transplanted after senior advocate Colin Gonsalves said reports suggested that many of those trees were in poor condition. The case will be heard next on November 15.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi told the court that the streets of Delhi were cleared of lakhs of cars because of the metro project. Mumbai also needs a similar solution for its traffic woes, he argued. Rohatgi said only a car shed would be constructed in the area, and allegations of other planned constructions were baseless.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the authorities were done cutting the trees required for the construction. The state government followed the top court’s order on observing the status quo, he added.
On October 7, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation had announced it had cut 2,141 trees in the area. The announcement came three days after the Bombay High Court rejected a petition asking for a stay on the tree-felling.
The Supreme Court took up the case on October 7 based on a petition by a group of law students. Asking the Maharashtra government to halt the tree cutting, the court told the students to show documents to prove it was an eco-sensitive zone. “It was a no development zone not an eco-sensitive zone,” said Justice Arun Mishra. “This is what we get, show us the documents.”
The top court also asked if all people arrested or detained for protesting against the tree cutting were released. “If they have not been released, release them immediately on furnishing personal bond,” the court added. The Mumbai Police had arrested 29 people among a group of 60 that it had detained . A holiday court in Mumbai released the arrested individuals on a bail bond of Rs 7,000 each.
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