Mumbai: In what is rather unusual during court hearings, Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, Justice Manjula Chellur seemed to know what citizens face at a park situated in south Mumbai's Cuffe Parade area. The park is meant to be open to the public but access is often restricted. The court is hearing a Public Interest Litigation regarding the same park.
Advocate Yusuf Iqbal Yusuf confirmed that when the court officers, during the hearing offered to show a video of the inspection of the park, the Chief Justice observed, "I have already been there. Don't need to show it to me, show it to them."
Petitioner Sanjay Kokate told NDTV, "The Hon'ble Chief Justice said in court that she had passed by this place. We have produced in front of her what is going on there.
"She has ordered that the corporation should take over the security of the park. My petition is the private gymnasium has taken over the park there is nothing for public use," the petitioner added.
Advocate Yusuf Iqbal Yusuf told NDTV, "This is a classic example of misuse of a public property by a private developer. A piece of land reserved for a recreation ground for public use was converted by a private developer as a compound and pathway & car park for the building constructed on the adjoining plot."
The Bombay High Court has been hearing a petition filed by activist Sanjay Kokate on the issue of access to the park located right next to a high-rise in the posh Cuffe Parade area, home to Mumbai's wealthiest residents.
The allegation of the petitioner against the builder is that a public plot was usurped to build a club house leaving hardly any space for public use, in violation of the agreement that the builder signed with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
The court has said that the plot must be restored as a public space and final hearing will take place in June, according to the activist's lawyer.
When an inspection team that included the Court Receiver of the Bombay High Court visited the park on orders of the court, they were stopped from entering the park by security guards. The team was allowed entry for inspection only after they revealed their identity.