The Bombay High Court on Tuesday quashed the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearances granted to the city civic body’s ambitious Rs 14,000-crore coastal road project, saying there was “serious lacuna” in the decision-making process and lack of proper scientific study.
A division Bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice N M Jamdar in its ruling said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) cannot proceed with work on the 29.2-km project, proposed to connect Marine Drive area in south Mumbai to suburban Borivali in the north.
The court noted that the environmental clearance was required to be taken by the BMC under the environmental impact assessment (EIA) notification issued by the Centre.
“We declare that the civic body cannot proceed with the works without obtaining an environmental clearance under the EIA notification. Further, permission under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, should also be obtained,” the high court said.
The Bench quashed the CRZ clearances while allowing a bunch of petitions filed by activists, residents and fishermen from the city challenging the project. “It is obvious that a serious lacuna has occurred in the decision-making process. We hold that there is lack of proper scientific study and this has been overlooked by Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA), the EIA and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF),” the court said.
The Bench quashed and set aside the approval granted by the MCZMA on January 4, 2017, the nod given by the EAC on March 17, 2017 and the final approval granted by the MoEF on May 11, 2017.
The BMC’s counsel Darius Khambata sought a stay of the order to appeal in the Supreme Court.
The request was, however, refused by the high court.