The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy agreed to hear all of them after Pongal.
“We cannot lose sight of the more compelling issues relating to human rights and it cannot be sacrificed or postponed for aesthetic pleasure,” said Justice Banerjee. Also, he added, addressing fisherfolks’ issue was another aspect that should be taken up before concentrating on Marina’s beautification.
Appearing for Fishermen Care, the main petitioner, advocate LP Maurya submitted that two pleas moved in 2015 and 2018 were expanded to accommodate beach beautification while sidestepping the cause of fishermen. The 2015 plea had sought the implementation of Murari Panel report which had gone into the welfare of fishermen and the one moved in 2018 had sought the enhancement of the meagre Rs 82 per day given during the 60-day fishing ban period. But till date, both the issues have been ignored and instead the aspect of beautification of Marina has been taken up at their cost, he said.
Questioning the rationale adopted in restricting shops on Marina to 900 and also allowing 40 per cent new traders at the cost of the existing ones, the impleading petitioners added that reservation has not been provided for the physically challenged and women. They sought a stay on the lots scheduled to be held on January 20 and 21, insisting that the principles for allocation have to be worked out before rules were evolved for allocation of pushcarts. While it refused to grant any stay, the bench suggested taking up the issue in two parts: first one on the rights of fishermen and the second would confine to Marina beach.
Additional Advocate General SR Rajagopal submitted that the whole process, including the place where the pushcarts would be located were progressing based on court orders and that they were already in receipt of 300 carts. He added that a two-acre plot has been allocated near the Loop Road to shift the fish market and also create parking space that can accommodate over 300 vehicles.