Two employees of the have petitioned the Bombay High Court to stop the auction of Dr Homi Bhabha's sprawling bungalow at Malabar Hill, scheduled on Wednesday.
On Monday, Prakash Worlikar and Ram Dhuri, both members of the National Federation of Atomic Energy Employees (NFAEE), asked the court to direct the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) to stop the auction.
However, a division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice MS Sonak did not stay the auction, but posted the matter for hearing on June 23.
The petitioners have also asked that the bungalow be maintained by the central or state government and that it be turned into a nuclear exhibition centre or museum.
The bungalow, named Mehrangir, occupies 13,953 sq ft on a property measuring 17,150 sq ft that was willed to the NCPA. The reserve price is set at Rs257 crore and the NCPA aims to use the money from the auction to fund its activities.
"The government has preserved the houses of national leaders like Lokmanya Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi. Similarly, Dr Homi Bhabha was the father of atomic energy and an asset of the nation. His house is a great inspiration to employees of BARC and we look forward to it being preserved or converted into a national museum," said Worlikar.
The employees have approached industrialist Ratan Tata to help to prevent the property from being auctioned. They feel that Tata could intervene in the matter and ensure that the bungalow is converted into a museum.
They have also initiated an online petition to garner support and prevent the auction.