Bombay High Court lifts 2-year stay on freight corridor work

Dismisses plea seeking to stall project connecting U.P. and Maharashtra

The Bombay High Court recently vacated a stay granted two years ago on the 1,504 km Western Dedicated Freight Corridor connecting Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

While dismissing a plea seeking to stall the project work, the court held, “It is clear that all requisite permission/clearances have been applied for and obtained and there is no report of worth which could be relied upon to hold that the said project is being taken forward upon damaging the environment.”

In a September 20 judgment, a Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni said, “We are satisfied that in a case of the present nature, where public interest is of paramount consideration and the petitioner has failed to set up a cast-iron case before the court for its interference.”

Jiten Agro Land and Farm Private Limited and directors of the company are owners of the properties in Dahanu taluka. On May 25, 2015, a notification was issued by the Central government to acquire more land for public purpose (for the project). As per the notification, a proposal to acquire 0.8240 hectares of the petitioner’s property was proposed.

The company directors challenged the same and filed a petition in August 2019 contending that the acquisition of the company’s land is contrary to provisions of the Railways Act and is therefore illegal.

The court said, “It is not a rare experience that whenever a project in public interest is conceived and measures are taken for acquisition of land, objections start flying in from all corners. The challenge posed by the petitioners was no different. It was claimed by them that no report on environment impact assessment had been obtained.”

The 35-page judgment mentioned, “The petitioners have made no attempt to substantiate it by pleading relevant facts and by producing relevant evidence. There being no material in the writ petition to hold that the subject acquisition offends the notifications, hence we reject the contention as without substance.”

The court vacated the interim stay granted on October 17, 2019, for the project built by the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India connecting Dadri in Uttar Pradesh to Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra.

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