MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Monday submitted a fresh proposal for allotting around 25 acres of land for a new Bombay high court complex in Pahadi, Goregaon (West). This is an alternative to its earlier plan for a high court complex on around 15 acres of land in Bandra.
The offer of land in Goregaon was made after the high court indicated that the space in Bandra would not be enough to create all the necessary infrastructure for a court complex. A division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Mahesh Sonak observed that the state was still to take a cabinet decision on allotment of land.
The court is hearing a public interest litigation filed by Mumbai advocate Ahmed Abdi, who had raised the issue of severe space crunch in the 140 -year-old building near Flora Fountain, Churchgate.
The bench has now scheduled the PIL for further hearing on Wednesday when the Bombay Bar Association, Association of Advocates of Western India (AAWI) and other parties will place their views on the state’s proposals before the court.
Senior advocate Anil Sakhare said a meeting was chaired by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis with top officers of various departments on October 22, 2018. The high court administration had sought around 50 acres for the court complex. As per the minutes of the meeting, submitted to the high court, it was discussed that while a large parcel of land was not available in Mumbai and its suburbs, it was possible to make available around 25 acres of private land in Pahadi area of Goreagoan.
The meeting further discussed that the original plans of allotting around 15 acres of land, by demolishing existing structures, was still on offer. It would take around three years to demolish the existing buildings on the Bandra plot, rehabilitate the occupants and make available land for construction purposes. The chief minister directed the authorities to consult the high court administration and prepare building plans for constructing the complex that would include court halls, chambers for judges, offices for the advocate general, government pleaders, public prosecutors and other functionaries, bar rooms and a high court library.
One contentious issue has been space for lawyers’ chambers which, the state said, cannot be accommodated in the Bandra complex due to paucity of land. The government had earlier said that since there was a height restriction of 50 metres in the area, it could construct 12-storey buildings in the new high court complex in Bandra with a floor space index (FSI) of 4 for the project.