Allowing the central and the state government to file their respective affidavits, the Bombay High Court refused to invoke a stay on the transfer

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday allowed the transfer of the bungalow of the late Dr. Homi Bhabha, the father of India’s atomic energy programme, in South Mumbai from the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) to Godrej family, the new owners of the property.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M. S. Sonak was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by two employees of Bhabha Atomic research Centre (BARC), seeking to stop the transfer of the bungalow "Mehrangir".

Allowing the central and the state government to file their respective affidavits, the Court refused to invoke a stay on the transfer. Both the governments informed the court that they are considering inclusion of the bungalow in the heritage list under the Maharashtra Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act.

The bungalow located at the upmarket Malabar Hill in South Mumbai was purchased by the Godrej family for Rs 372 crore. After the death of Homi Bhabha in 1966, his brother Jamshed became the custodian of his property, who willed the property to the NCPA.

While raising no objection to the transfer process, counsel informed the Court that despite the completion of transfer, the bungalow can be acquired later if the Government decided to make it a heritage monument.

Senior counsel Aspi Chinoy, who appeared for the Godrej family, said that for at least next 15 years it does not intend to demolish the house. “It will be used for living by the family,” he told the Court.

The PIL filed by Prakash Worlikar, who is also the member of the National Federation of Atomic Energy Employees (NFAEE), also sought directions to keep the bungalow intact by the State or the Central government and a nuclear exhibition centre or museum, be made inside.

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