The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the order of the Bombay High Court which had quashed the Coastal Regulation Zone clearances granted for the southern part of Mumbai’s coastal road project, ANI reported. In October, the Supreme Court had said that it would hear pleas against the Bombay High Court order after the Diwali break.
A Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant allowed the government to go ahead with reclaiming the land and building the road, The Times of India reported. However, it also asked the government not to carry out any developmental work alongside the road until further orders.
The top court said that it will hear all parties to the case in April 2020. However, lawyers representing environmentalists who have opposed the project said the court’s order will cause “irreversible damage” to the environment.
In July, the High Court had said an environmental clearance would be required for the Rs 14,000-crore project. It allowed a series of petitions by activists, residents and fishermen challenging the project, which aims to improve the connectivity between Marine Drive in South Mumbai and Borivali in the city’s northern part. According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the project will also decongest the Western Express Highway and arterial roads.
The petitioners have claimed that the reclamation work undertaken for the project is illegal and will alter coastal biodiversity and traditional ecological practices. The High Court, in its order, had noted a “serious lacuna” in the decision-making process of the project and added that it lacked proper scientific study.
In April, the High Court had restrained the civic body from working on the project. The civic body then filed an appeal in the Supreme Court. In May, the top court allowed the corporation to carry out existing work but prohibited it from starting anything new.