The court told the technical institute to ensure that experts who enter the premises of Atash Behrams — sacred Parsi temples — are practising Zoroastrian.

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday appointed Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) to examine the impact of ongoing construction work of Metro 3 corridor on two fire temples in Kalbadevi. The court told the technical institute to ensure that experts who enter the premises of Atash Behrams — sacred Parsi temples — are practising Zoroastrian.

The court was hearing a petition filed by five members of the Zoroastrian community against the construction of the underground Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ corridor under two Atash Behrams. A division bench of Justice A S Oka and R I Chagla said, “Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute to examine the impact of the proposed Metro work (including tunnelling and construction of the proposed Kalbadevi station) both during its construction as well as operation of the Metro Rail: On the structural safety of the Wadiaji and Anjuman Atash Behram; on the water levels (including any contamination) in the wells situated within both the above Atash Behrams.”

The bench further said, “We direct VJTI to submit its report to this court within a period of 10 days… If it is necessary to enter the premises of the subject Atash Behrams, VJTI will do so after giving advance notice in writing to the Trustees… VJTI will ensure that the experts who enter the premises of Atash Behrams and their colleagues/assistants are the persons practising Zoroastrian faith as only such persons are allowed to enter the premises.”

The High Court bench also noted that the counsel appearing for petitioners agreed to bear the cost and charges payable to the technical institution. The court said the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) should not carry out any drilling work beyond the boundaries of Atash Behrams till August 8. The court also directed the central government and the state government to file a reply by August 4. The court will hear the arguments of petitioner and MMRC on August 6, for interim relief.

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