The Bombay High Court has asked a petitioner, who filed a PIL against the shifting of a wholesale fish market from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Market to Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market / Crawford Market in South Mumbai, to deposit Rs 2.5 lakh within a month or four weeks as a ‘precondition’ to hear the plea, noting that he was “not remotely affected” by the move.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Sanjay V Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep V Marne was hearing the PIL by Lahu Kondiba Gund, who claimed to be a public-spirited person. Gund, through advocates Rajiv Narul and MA Khan, said he was ‘aggrieved by the shifting of the wholesale fish market to the same place or market where fruit and vegetables are to be sold’.
“The petitioner is not remotely affected. Still the counsel submits that the petitioner wants to proceed with the PIL. To test the bonafide of the petitioner and as a security, if cost is imposed upon the petitioner, and as per Rule 7A of The Bombay High Court Public Interest Litigation Rules, 2010, the petitioner shall deposit Rs 2,50,000 within four weeks,” the bench observed.
After the HC pulled up the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in July 2021 for operating a wholesale fish market at a building — which was declared to be in a ‘precarious condition’ — in South Mumbai, the civic body had submitted a plan of action to shift the traders. BMC had stated that ‘no traders will be allowed to enter the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Fish Market, a wholesale fish market located near Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market / Crawford Market, as the building was to be demolished and reconstructed.
BMC had made the submission a week after a bench, led by the then Chief Justice, Dipankar Datta (currently Supreme Court Judge), which was hearing a plea by a fish merchant, stating that the civic body would have to take full responsibility if its ceiling collapsed, leading to loss of lives.