Bombay High Court: In the much awaited Adarsh Society judgment a special Bench of RV More and RG Ketkar, JJ., relying upon MI Builders Private Limited v. Radhey Shyam Sahu (1999) 6 SCC 464 and Shanti Sports Club v. Union of India (2009) 15 SCC 705, directed MoEF to demolish Adarsh building, that was held to be unauthorized and in violation of of Environment Protection Act and Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act. The court also directed UOI and Gov. of Maharashtra to consider initiating appropriate civil/criminal and departmental proceedings against the concerned bureaucrats, and ministers who misused their powers in acquiring the plot for Adarsh building.

The court found that the petitioners have neither obtained clearance from MoEF or from State level agency as required under the 1991 Coastal Regulation Zone notification, nor the mandatory recommendations of Maharashtra Coastal Management Authority. Moreover, the court held that the letters communicated between 11.03.2003 and 15.03.2003 did not constitute any clearance whatsoever. It was also found that Development Control Rules, 1967 were applicable in the present case and as against permissible FSI of 1.33, petitioners have consumed FSI to the extent of 2.932. Also, petitioners’ claims of violation of natural justice were rejected, for they failed to prove any prejudice suffered, and the authorities concerned were found acting fairly, impartially and reasonably. On the controversial allotment of flats, the court observed that it was clearly marked by  favoritism and nepotism.

The Court further directed petitioners to pay Rs.1,00,000/- each to Dr. A. Senthil Vel, Mr. Thirunavukarasu, Mr. T. C. Benjamin and Mr. Sitaram Kunte to ensure that no baseless allegations are levelled against officers. Also, State of Maharashtra was directed to resume the subject plot within four weeks. However, the court stayed its order for a period of 12 weeks so that the petitioners can appeal to Supreme court, but ensured that no further request for extension of time will be entertained. [Adarsh Co-op Housing Society Ltd v Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine Bom 2583, decided on 29.04.2016]

*Picture Credits- Indian express

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