Observing that the PIL was filed “under the garb” of protecting ecology and environment at the instance of hotel – Make Waves Sea Resort Private Ltd – and seeking demolition of a fisherfolk crematorium in Erangal in Malad, the Bombay High Court has imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioner, Chetan Vyas.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik, on Thursday, directed the government to reconstruct the crematorium which was used by fisherfolk since prior to 1991, and was demolished by suburban collector without giving them a hearing.
“This PIL petition under the garb of protecting ecology and environment seems to have been filed at the instance of the resort to protect their commercial interest and for that purpose intended to destroy legal rights of fisherman community to use the said plot as crematorium,” noted court in the detailed order which was made available on Saturday.
The court said it “suspects” that the PIL has been filed “as the crematorium was affecting the commercial interest of said resort”.
What the court found more shocking is the “alarming speed” with which the suburban collector took steps for demolition of the crematorium, citing order of the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) which purportedly passed such an order following a High Court direction of 2021.