August 3, 2021 1:16:49 am
THE BOMBAY High Court has told the state government that in view of a space crunch in its existing premises, it would require additional space nearby for the construction of an integrated court complex, and has suggested that land belonging to Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) would be ideal for the expansion.
A senior port trust official said the matter was discussed at a recent meeting between chief secretary S J Kunte and officials of MbPt. It was earlier discussed at a meeting between Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in December 2020, The Indian Express has learnt.
At that meeting, Chief Justice Datta observed that the present premises of the Bombay High Court — located between Flora Fountain and Churchgate in a Gothic style stone building like many other heritage buildings in the area — was constructed in 1878 and was meant for five judges. The sanctioned strength now is 50 judges, and at the moment, there are 35 judges. He said the High Court should be allotted land in a 3 km to 5 km radius of the existing building.
Then principal adviser to the chief minister Ajoy Mehta had suggested at the same meeting that as there was no land available in that area, one option could be to locate the new premises in the suburbs. He said 75 to 100 acres was readily available in Pahadi village of Goregaon in western area of Mumbai, free from encumbrances and encroachment, accessible to the public from two Metro stations.
The government is also planning to locate Mumbai’s proposed National Law University on this land parcel at Goregaon. The chief justice, however, has conveyed that MbPT land would be more convenient in view of its proximity to the present building. Members of the bar are also understood to have conveyed this to the chief justice.
It was agreed at the December 2020 meeting that the matter would be pursued with MbPT and the Centre.
Principal secretary of state law and judiciary department Neeraj Dhote said as he had taken over recently, he was not aware of it. The then chief secretary Sanjay Kumar, who was present at the December 2020 meeting, said he did not remember such a discussion. Kunte did not respond to messages.
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