The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Maharashtra government to remove illegal encroachments on the approach road and near the Haji Ali Dargah shrine, failing which it would face serious consequences.
A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud granted two weeks to the concerned authorities to remove these encroachments and asked the deputy collector to ensure that its order is complied with.
The direction came after the Haji Ali Dargah trust, which had earlier volunteered to remove the encroachments around the historic shrine, expressed inability in completing the task at hand.
The court told the deputy collector of Colaba that serious consequences would follow if its order for removing encroachments is not complied within two weeks from today.
On May 9, the apex court had lauded the efforts of the Dargah Trust in its attempts to remove encroachments.
The Haji Ali Dargah was constructed in 1431 in the memory of a wealthy Muslim merchant, Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, who gave up all his possessions before making a pilgrimage to Mecca.
The Trust had on April 13 relented to the tough stand taken by the apex court against large-scale encroachments around the mosque and volunteered to remove them by May 8.
The offer to remove and demolish the encroachments had come after the apex court clarified that only the mosque, located on an area of around 171 sq.m, would remain protected while the rest of the area, measuring 908 sq.m, has to be cleared of squatters.
Appreciating the offer, the bench had allowed the trust to complete the task on or before May 8 subject to the satisfaction of two authorities indicated in February 10 order of the Bombay High Court.
The High Court had ordered the formation of a joint task force comprising the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and the Collector to remove the illegal encroachments on the approach road leading to the Haji Ali Dargah.
The High Court was hearing a petition filed by Sahayak, a socio-legal and educational forum, seeking immediate removal of the encroachments on the approach road to the dargah which is located on the sea.
Earlier, MCGM officials were of the view that the land on the approach road to Haji Ali fell in the Collectors jurisdiction and therefore the Collector should remove the encroachments.
With PTI inputs