The Bombay High Court on Thursday cautioned the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) against breaching the restrictions imposed by it on construction activity for the Metro III line.
A bench of Chief justice Manjula Chellur and Justice M S Sonak warned that if the MMRCL failed to comply with the court’s order of restraining all metro construction activity between 10 pm and 6 am daily, the court will not hesitate to stop its construction work altogether.
The stringent observation from the bench came after the petitioners and the amicus curiae appointed by it for assistance complained that despite the court having passed an order in August this year prohibiting any construction or ancillary work on the metro III line between 10 pm and 6 am, some construction activity went on through the night.
The petitioners also claimed that they had made video recordings of such work continuing at night and that they were willing to submit them before the court.
While the MMRCL said that it will issue directions to all the officers concerned to refrain from continuing any work during the prohibited hours, the bench directed it to place on record the names of all such officers who were in charge of the construction work and were knowingly flouting the court’s orders.
“One can still understand if a common man, who is ignorant of the law, unknowingly flouts the court’s orders.
However, these are responsible officers, who are aware of the law and also of the consequences of breaching a court’s orders. They cannot be shown any leniency,” the bench said.
“Place their names on record and let them explain why they are insistent on carrying out construction activity at night,” it said.
“Till now, we have been polite with you (MMRCL), but do not compel us to pass stringent orders. If the need arises, we can pass orders stopping all Metro construction work,” the bench said.
“We can’t help you if you don’t follow the rules. If your officers breach our orders, serious consequences will follow, and they will have to go behind the bars,” Chellur said.
The bench was hearing a plea seeking directions to the MMRCL to stop work on the 33-km long Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro line III during night hours on account of the inconvenience caused to residents due to the noise hence generated.
Following the plea, the court had passed an order on August 12 this year, prohibiting the MMRCL from carrying out any construction or ancillary work for the project between 10 pm and 6 am.
The court also directed it to ensure that such construction activity does not flout the prescribed noise pollution norms for the city.