The Bombay High Court has directed the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRCL) to give an undertaking stating that it will provide 18,000 square feet constructed space to the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) at Earnest House in Nariman Point. The MAT currently works out of government barracks located near the Free Press Journal building in Nariman Point.
The MMRCL, which temporarily requires MAT’s office premises as part of its expansion plans, has been further directed to give an undertaking that it will provide all the requisite infrastructure at the Earnest House premises, without which the Tribunal will not vacate its current promises.
The MMRCL has already agreed to hand over three floors in Earnest House in the Nariman Point area to the Tribunal.
“We direct that the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal shall be shifted to the premises in Earnest House only after the entire infrastructure is provided,” said Justice AS Oka.
In an affidavit filed in the High Court by Ashok Bhamse, Deputy General Manager of the MMRCL, the corporation stated that on completion of its work at the existing premises of the Tribunal, it will provide the alternative premises with all facilities and amenities on an area spanning 14,000 sq feet. It further stated that these will be to the satisfaction of the chairman of the Tribunal.
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The facilities will include courtrooms, judge’s chambers, bar rooms, registrars’ office, library, waiting area, toilets and parking space, among others.
“In the event that the premises in the newly constructed building are not provided to the tribunal before expiry of period of lease, it is the obligation of the state government as well as the MMRCL to provide equivalent premises to the tribunal in the same area,” said the court. While the MMRCL requires the space for five years, it has taken over the area for nine years. The court has now asked the authorised officer of the MMRCL to give another undertaking stating that after the expiry of nine years, if the permanent newly-constructed premises are not provided to the Tribunal and it is required to vacate the premises in Earnest House, the MMRCL will provide a premises in the same locality having an area equivalent to the premises in Earnest House.
The matter has been kept for hearing on December 7.