'Incongruous that more and more paper being used in environmental PIL': Bombay High Court refuses to take hard copy of affidavit

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Court was dealing with a PIL filed by NGO Vanashakti for transfer of over 1,500 hectares of mangrove land, which is currently in possession of various governments, to the forest department of the Maharashtra government. 

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday declined to take hard copies of an affidavit filed by the counsel for the City and Industrial Development Corporation in an environmental Public Interest Litigation (PIL). 

The bench of Justices G.S. Patel & Gauri Godse said, "There is now an E-filing system in place in this Court. It is high time the State Government and State Government Agencies now start using the E-filing system invariably".

Court added that "if matters carry on like this, we will never be able to shift to a paperless environment — and that is the avowed objective and goal of the State Government itself".

Court noted that the PIL was filed seeking to protect wetlands by a social action group that seeks to protect forests, however, more and more paper was being used for the purpose of the hearing. 

Therefore, refusing to continue the same, Court ordered a copy of the instant order to be sent to the Registrar (Original Side), Registrar General and the Prothonotary & Senior Master to consider issuing appropriate directions or obtaining appropriate directions from the Chief Justice.

The matter will be next heard on September 13, 2022.

Case Title: Vanashakti & Anr v. Revenue & Forest Dept, State of Maharashtra & Ors