Updated: August 31, 2021 9:34:53 pm
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday said that interim orders passed by various courts and authorities in Maharashtra and Goa after April 9 on eviction, demolition and dispossession, which are still in operation, will be kept in abeyance until September 30 given the uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic.
The court raised concerns over crowding in public places including beaches in Mumbai and said that if the crowds are not controlled or restricted, then it will lead to the situation like “last year” and we require to learn from the past experience with the “third wave knocking at our doors”.
On August 10, the court had given “breathing time” and said that the orders will continue to be kept in abeyance only till August 31 and not beyond that as the “crisis arising out of ‘second wave’ was on the wane, leading to easing of lockdown restrictions”.
The court had on April 16 passed an order that eviction, demolition, and dispossession should not be carried out during the pandemic until further directions, and granted parties liberty to move the high court in case of emergency.
A four-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justices AA Sayed, KK Tated and PB Varale passed the order while hearing a suo motu petition on the extension of protection to those who are unable to access justice due to restricted functioning of courts amid the pandemic.
The full bench said that considering the “situation of uncertainties and upcoming festivities around this time”, it would “pose threat to humankind”, and therefore the interest of justice would be sufficiently served if the protective interim orders are extended till September 30.
The court orally raised concerns over crowds at beaches in Mumbai including Juhu Chowpatty, Girgaum Chowpatty and Marine Drive, and said “if the crowds are not controlled or restricted then we will face the same situation as last year. We need to learn from our experience.”
The HC said that it was informed by expert Dr Rahul Pandit of the Supreme Court-appointed taskforce for Covid-19 management that “the third wave of Covid-19 is knocking at the doors” and if safety protocols are not followed strictly then the state will face imminent danger. “The expert was of the view that at least till April 2022 the nation may not get rid of Covid.”
The bench referred to the HC administrative committee meeting held on Monday led by CJ Datta and consisting of representatives of state and central governments, along with representatives of lawyers associations, which was briefed by the additional commissioner of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
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