The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the advocate general to appear and clear the stand of the government in a matter in which the government filed a plea seeking modifications of an earlier court order pertaining to banning construction on wetlands. The court asked the AG to be present next Monday “to clear the stand of the government on whether they want the wetlands destroyed”..
A division bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice A A Sayyed were hearing a public interest litigation by NGO Vanshakti for saving wetlands and for setting up of a wetlands’ authority to monitor violations. The state government had on December 18, 2013, following the HC order, issued a government resolution directing the civic bodies to enforce a ban on reclamation or constructions in areas earmarked in the Centre’s wetland atlas.
The government, which was also supposed to submit a brief document detailing the demarcation and protection of wetlands through satellite imagery, has been seeking extensions to complete the exercise.
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During the last hearing, the court while pulling up the government for trying to destroy wetlands by seeking such a plea had given time to the state to inform them if it would withdraw such a plea. The state had informed the court that the brief document was to be filed under the Wetlands Rules 2010, but the central government had already issued fresh draft regulations in this regard in 2016, which does not require this exercise to be carried out.
On Monday, government pleader G W Mattos told the court that more time was required to take instructions. “We don’t appreciate this. You can’t get order of court set aside based on draft regulations,” said the court.