Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday said if the Supreme Court has directed all cases pertaining to environment law to be heard by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), then even the controversial Adarsh Housing Society matter will automatically stand transferred.
This observation was made by a division bench of Justices D D Sinha and K K Tated while hearing a plea made by the 31-storey plush society seeking transfer of its petition challenging the demolition order passed against it by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), to the NGT.
The Society has based its plea on a direction given by the Supreme Court while hearing the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy case that all cases which questions the provisions of environment law should be heard by the Green Tribunal.
"If there is a direction of the apex court then it (Adarsh case) automatically stands transferred. Why should we pass an order to that effect?" Justice Sinha said.
Advocate Som Sinha, appearing for the Union government, however, told the court that the MoEF was opposing the Society`s plea of transfer and that the High Court should first hear the arguments before transferring the case to NGT.
Agreeing to hear the Union government on the issue, the bench said, "We will hear you (MoEF). We will not adjudicate the matter."
The case will now be heard on December 18.
Senior counsel Janak Dwarkadas, appearing for the Society, had earlier said when it had filed the petition in February last year challenging the demolition order the green tribunal was not functioning.
"Now two benches have been constituted and hence even this matter should be transferred to the Tribunal," he said.
The order for demolishing the housing society in posh Colaba in South Mumbai, was passed in January 2011 for alleged violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms and not obtaining permission from the Ministry before construction.