HC refuses to transfer Adarsh demolition plea to NGT
Mumbai: Refusing to transfer a plea filed by Adarsh Housing society challenging the demolition order passed against it to the National Green Tribunal, Bombay High Court on Tuesday said environment violation cannot be dealt separately from other allegations against it.
The 31-storey plush society in January had filed a plea seeking transfer of its petition, challenging the demolition order passed by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), to NGT.
The scam-tainted society has based its plea on a direction given by the Supreme Court while hearing the Bhopal gas tragedy case that all cases which question the provisions of environment law should be heard by the green tribunal.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice MS Sanklecha, however, dismissed the application and said it cannot be segregated from the other issues raised in the case in a bunch of PILs filed by social activists and the suit filed by the Union Ministry of Defence over ownership.
"We find that the present petition challenging the demolition order cannot be treated as stand alone petition and has to be seen as one of the several proceedings pending before this court pertaining to the Adarsh society," the court said.
The bench further noted that apart from the environment issue, there are several other issues like ownership, security risk pointed out by the defence ministry, allotment of membership and permissions granted that need to be seen collectively.
"Hence it would not be proper to say that the environment issue can be segregated and transferred to the National Green Tribunal. It cannot be isolated," the court said.
The bench also observed that the Supreme Court in its order had said petitions pertaining to environment issues "can" be transferred and did not say "must" be transferred.
According to the society, when it had filed a petition
in February 2011 challenging the demolition order, the green tribunal was not functioning.
"Now two benches have been constituted and hence even this petition should be transferred to the tribunal," the society argued.
The order for demolishing the society in posh Colaba was passed on January 6, 2011, for alleged violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms and not obtaining permission from the ministry before construction.