A division bench comprising justice SC Dharmadhikari and justice UV Bakre passed the order during the hearing of a public interest litigation filed by Verna resident John Philip Pereira. He challenged the March 2011 cabinet decision de-notifying an area acquired for creating parking space.
During the hearing, government advocate Amey Kakodkar pointed out to the court that most taxis and private car owners do not park their vehicles in the designated parking areas near the airport to avoid paying the fee of 60. Instead, they park on the highway leading to traffic chaos, he added.
At this point, the bench enquired why traffic police were lethargic in towing away vehicles parked on the highway. Taking note of these facts, the bench observed in its order that “it appears that there is prima facie complete lack of coordination” among the various authorities.
The court asked the government to carry out a site inspection in the presence of revenue department officials, the airports authority of India and the petitioner, who shall point out suitable land to be demarcated for parking.
The bench has further observed that “the area should be such that those who want to park for a limited time should not be inconvenienced” and areas should be marked for private taxis. After carrying out the site inspection, “the free area should be cordoned off so that parking on first come first serve basis is enabled”. The court will hear the petition further on March 26.
The petitioner also pointed out that land earlier acquired by the government for creating a parking lot near the airport was de-notified in March 2011.
The petitioner further alleged that soon after the cabinet decision, the owner of the land had sold it to private builders. Pereira alleged that the de-notification was mala fide and was done to favour the original land owner, whose property was acquired for the project.