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SC halts another Mayawati park
Published on 10 Oct. 2009 12:09 AM IST
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In a setback to the Mayawati government, the Supreme Court Friday ordered stoppage of all construction and masonry work in a Noida park being developed as a memorial for the Uttar Pradesh chief minister and her political mentor Kanshi Ram. A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justice Aftab Alam stopped all masonry work in the sprawling 33 acre park till Oct 26. On Sep 8, a bench of Justice B.N. Agrawal and Justice Alam had stopped all construction activities at nearly two dozen memorial sites of various Dalit leaders in Lucknow. The violation of the order led the court to issue contempt notice to the state chief secretary. He was summoned efore the court Nov 4. The court has asked him to explain why he should not be punished for “prima facie flagrant violation of the court’s orders”. The court, however, Friday allowed the state government to continue with the greenery work like planting of trees. The bench, also known as Green Bench or Forest Bench, adjudicating cases pertaining to environmental laws, was hearing a plea by the court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC), which had raised objection to development of the park for building huge concrete structures on the bank of the Yamuna after felling over 6,000 trees. The CEC had contended that the park was being developed without mandatory clearance from the union ministry of environment and forest. The bench dismissed fervent pleas by the state government counsel Mukul Rohatgi, who wanted the court to let the construction work continue, while hearing the CEC plea. The bench said: “If the construction is completed, what will the court adjudicate upon?” As Rohatgi contended that it would delay the project continuing since January 2008, the bench observed: “We are ready to allow the work (after examining its legality) but why can’t you stop for a week or 10 days?” Rohatgi earlier sought the adjournment of the matter saying that another senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, who was expected to argue for the state of Uttar Pradesh, was not present. At this, as the court agreed to adjourn the matter after stopping the construction work. Rohatgi then argued the matter and contended that in a project of the development of a park, the government did not require the union ministry’s clearance or approval. But the bench did not appear impressed with his argument. The judges asked Rohtagi if the state had got any building plans sanctioned. As Rohatagi sought to argue that no building plans were required for such construction, the bench expressed surprise. “Do you mean that no building plan is required for making any construction in parks and you are free to make all sorts of constructions there?”

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