Clearing the decks for the extension of MRTS phase-II from Velachery to St. Thomas Mount, the Madras High Court dismissed petitions and an appeal challenging the acquisition of lands for the project.
In its common judgement, a Division Bench comprising Justices N. Paul Vasanthakumar and M. Sathyanarayanan said the counter affidavits filed by the government and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority made it clear that after the proposed alignment and extension of MRTS phase-II in 2008, between 2008 and 2011, the authorities had completed work on 3.7 km of the total five km of MRTS line. Work on only around 1.3 km remained.
The area belonging to the petitioners and appellants was only 500 metres of the 1.3 km. The project is to be completed expeditiously for the benefit of the public. Therefore, a conscious decision had been taken to invoke the urgency clause.
Counsel said there was no urgent need or necessity to invoke the urgency clause and to dispense with the enquiry, citing delays in the project and deviation in alignment.
Dismissing the appeal and writ petitions, the Bench observed that a public purpose required invocation of the urgency clause. As for the deviation, it had been done with due application of mind, the Bench stated. It also observed that there was no proper upkeep and maintenance of MRTS railway stations. The huge spaces in the stations meant to be used for a commercial purpose had not been put to use, it pointed out.