MSHRC summons forest dept principal secretary, civic chief, over Aarey patch

The summons states, “Whereas commission has taken suo motu cognisance dated September 26 in respect to the news of English newspaper mid-day regarding ‘How did Aarey patch go from lush green to dead brown?’ against you for having failed to take necessary action in respect of its grievance, you are hereby summoned to appear before the commission in courtroom no 1 in person on October 20 at 11 am and thereafter, to submit response to the complaint.”

The summons also read, “You are further directed to submit your response in writing with relevant documents upon which you intend to rely in respect of your defence. Take note that in default of your appearance on the day mentioned above, the matter will be decided further in accordance with the law.” Following mid-day’s report, the MSHRC decided to take up the matter by way of a suo motu complaint under Section 12 of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

A view of Aarey colony from the WEH at Goregaon on July 19, 2020. File pic/Satej Shinde

The order passed by the MSHRC read, “The office is directed to issue summons to the principal secretary, revenue and forest department, Mantralaya, Mumbai and municipal commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, Mumbai, calling upon them to hold fact-finding inquiry on the basis of the news appeared in English newspaper mid-day and file affidavit in reply before this commission on or before October 20.”

It also states that the corporation must inform environmentalist Stalin D about the order in writing and if he wants, he can file his affidavit placing on record the true facts of the present matter on or before the next date of hearing.

Also read: Mumbai: How did Aarey patch go from lush green to dead brown?

The matter is to be heard by a division bench comprising Justice K K Tated, the chairperson of the commission, and member M A Sayeed.

mid-day’s report highlighted how the rampant proliferation of illegal slums and killing of trees are going on unabated in the city and suburbs.  Stalin D has complained to the authorities about the mushrooming of illegal slums and the alleged killing of trees near the SEEPZ side of Aarey Milk Colony.   In his complaint to the authorities, he has sent a series of satellite images that show rapidly burgeoning shanties behind the Indian Oil petrol pump on the Jogeshwari–Vikhroli Link Road.

October 10
Date affidavit should be filed

Oct 20
Day the commission has asked to meet in-person

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