July 8, 2021 9:48:54 am
A week after the Bombay High Court pulled up Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for operating a wholesale fish market at a building in South Mumbai which has been declared to be in a “precarious condition”, the civic body has submitted a plan of action to shift the traders.
BMC, in its petition on Monday, stated that no trader will be allowed to enter the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Fish Market — a wholesale fish market located near Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market or Crawford Market — from July 11 as the building will be demolished and reconstructed.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni on July 6 disposed of a PIL filed by Asagar Abbas Shaikh, a fish merchant, through advocates Rajiv Narula and MA Khan, seeking to direct BMC to temporarily shift the market to Airoli.
The plea said that while the upper floors of the building were demolished in 2016, the fish market continued to operate. On June 30, the bench had noted that the civic body will have to take full responsibility if its ceiling collapses resulting in loss of lives.
It further added that in case of such an adverse event, besides officers of the corporation, the mayor and relevant corporator would expose themselves to civil and criminal liability. The HC had also directed the BMC to file an affidavit in reply stating its plan of action to relocate the fish traders from the south Mumbai market.
On Monday, Senior Counsel Anil Sakhare, appearing on behalf of BMC, said, “Till such time that trading activity is allowed to resume at the fish market after it is demolished and reconstructed, the traders would be at liberty to trade at Airoli Octroi Naka plot or in the other markets of the corporation as per availability. The immediate future plan is for permitting trade in a temporary ground floor shed, which will be constructed after demolition of the existing building.”
However, advocates Vaibhav Sugdare and Amit Potnis representing the Mumbai Fresh Fish Dealers Association, raised an objection saying that its members are aggrieved by BMC’s decision to shift them to a market which is 40 kilometres away and sought for an alternate space in the same area.
However, the Court noted that during an earlier hearing on June 30, the counsel for the applicant had not made any submission and the order was dictated in their presence without any objection being raised.
The bench noted, “We find no reason to hear the applicant at this stage on its grievance. The condition of the subject building is such that we cannot allow it to be retained, contrary to the view taken by the BMC, and the corporation having decided to proceed for its demolition, we are of the considered opinion that there is no reason to keep this petition pending any further and the same stands disposed of.”
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