The Maharashtra government on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that the Mumbai suburban district Collector has withdrawn an earlier order allotting land in the Kanjurmarg area for a car shed for Mumbai Metro.
The court then disposed of a Union government’s petition challenging the collector’s 2020 order.
On October 1, 2020, the collector issued an order handing over the possession of 102 acres of land to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for the construction of an integrated car shed for the Metro.
Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M S Karnik on Tuesday that the collector had informed that the order has been withdrawn.
The court was hearing petitions filed by the Union government as well as one Mahesh Garodia claiming ownership of the land.
The judges said in view of the Maharashtra government’s statement the petition of the Union government would be disposed of.
Garodia’s petition shall be placed before a single judge, the court said.
“In view of the withdrawal of the impugned order of October 1, 2020, nothing survives in the petition (of the Centre). If any action was taken by the MMRDA pursuant to October 1, 2020, then the MMRDA shall forthwith hand back possession of the land,” the HC said.
Advocate Saket Mone, appearing for the MMRDA, told the court that as an interim stay had been granted on October 1, 2020, by the HC, no construction work was carried out by the MMRDA.
The Union government and the then MVA government led by Uddhav Thackeray in Maharashtra were locked in a dispute over the ownership of the Kanjurmarg land.
The Union government had claimed that the entire salt pan land in the area, including the 102 acres allotted to MMRDA, belongs to the Central Salt Department.
The BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra had earlier decided to construct a car shed for the Mumbai Metro line 3 at Aarey Colony in the western suburbs of Mumbai despite opposition from environmentalists to the tree cutting for the project.
When the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress came to power, it decided to shift the car shed to Kanjurmarg in the eastern suburbs.
The Uddhav Thackeray government decided to construct an integrated metro car shed at Kanjurmarg for Metro lines 3, 4, 4A and 6.
In July this year, the Maharashtra government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde reversed the decision and said the car shed for Metro line 3 would be constructed at Aarey Colony.