The Bombay High Court has dismissed a petition seeking dismantling of an under-construction bridge at Poisar river over faulty design and observed that invocation of public interest jurisdiction by the petitioner based on incomplete data and facts should not be encouraged.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Madhav J. Jamdar dismissed a PIL filed by one Santosh Harishchandra Kanojia, complaining of alleged faulty design in construction of a bridge over Poisar river.
Although the petition was instituted on December 7, 2021, no real effort was made by the petitioner to have the same heard. Much water seems to have flown under the bridge since then, the Court held.
The High Court has an affidavit in reply filed by the Assistant Engineer of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), from which the Bench noted that presently 95 percent work of the under construction bridge is complete and the balance work is proposed to be completed by November, 2022.
Advocate O.R. Tiwari, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that after the institution of the PIL, the MCGM has proceeded hurriedly to complete the bridge construction work, which started as far back as in 2016-2017.
According to him, the bridge was being constructed in such a manner that it would result in flooding of the river water, which was bound to affect the persons residing in the locality.
The petition memo as well as the prayers therein, sought an order from the Court to dismantle the under-construction bridge and reconstruct the same.
The Court said that for the purpose of formation of even a prima facie view that construction of the subject bridge was proceeding on the basis of a faulty design, there has to be some material on record before the Court.
However, nothing of substance has been placed on record except a bald assertion of a faulty design and a few photographs.
While exercising the Court power of judicial review, the High Court does not sit in appeal over decisions taken by experts in the field of engineering who, the Court presume, must have applied their mind for the purpose of construction of the subject bridge.
A bald assertion of a faulty design cannot afford reason to interfere. No legal infirmity in the decision-making process has been brought to our notice.
“To our minds, invocation of the public interest jurisdiction by the petitioner based on incomplete data and facts should not be encouraged. More so, when 95 percent of the work is reportedly complete and the balance work is proposed to be completed by November, 2022,” the Court observed.