The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to set up a special bench to urgently hear the pending petition of the Goa government seeking resumption of construction of a greenfield airport at Mopa in the state.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was told by Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the state government, that the construction of the airport has been stalled for the last ten months and the petition of the state government is pending before the apex court.
"We are not in a position to constitute a special bench now. Mr attorney, our present situation does not permit us to do this," the bench, which also comprised justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer, said.
One of the lawyers appearing for the firm, GMR Goa International Airport Limited (GGIAL), said that a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud has already heard this petition partly and the matter needs to be concluded at the earliest.
GGIAL had won the bid for the airport under the build-own-operate and transfer (BOOT) scheme.
The bench asked the lawyers to request the presiding judge (Justice Chandrachud) "to release the matter".
Justice Chandrachud was part of the five-judge Constitution bench headed by the CJI which had reserved the verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case on October 16 after hearing it for 40 days and the verdict in the case has to be delivered on or before November 17, the day when the CJI demits office.
Eariler, the apex court had suspended the environmental clearance (EC) granted to the greenfield airport at Mopa in north Goa after it was alleged that over 5,000 trees would be fell for the project.
The court had also directed the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) to revisit the decision in light of its impact on ecology and had said that the EAC had abdicated its role and function and had failed to notice facets of the environment that were crucial to its decision making.
The Goa government had earlier said that the suspension of EC will lead to the project missing its 2020 first phase deadline