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Bombay HC says demolish Adarsh "forthwith"

  • Justice R G Ketkar of the Bombay High Court directed the Union of India to forthwith demolish Adarsh building when he took his seat placed right next to Justice R G More. Navroz Seerai the senior most member of the counsel was shocked as well when he said this at 3:00 p.m. exactly, the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society was hit hard by the statement.

    The 31-storey residential tower in Colaba located near defense establishments  was to be demolished as per the courts orders. The building had said to provide great sea views for many beaureaucrats and their families, this was done in place of providing and serving retired defence personnels and war widows. Seervai, who fought against the demolition for over a month got back to normal and sought for a stay. The High Court granted a 12-week stay and the order enabled the society to appeal to the Supreme Court as well. Though, the environment and state authorities are against the stay, the High Court found the appeal reasonable on their part. The Backabay reclaimation plot has to be taken back by the Adarsh society within four weeks as per the court orders and it remains to be "resumed".

    The society was kept hanging in mid air since 2010 , in January 2011 the Union Enviroment Ministry gave out demolition orders for the building as it had lack of green approval. Ashok Chavan the Maharashtra Cheif Minister stepped down in November 2010 due to the controversies surrounding the matter. The government took back the occupancy certificate and the electricity and water supply was cut subsequently in October 2010. The society had claimed that it had all permissions and clearances including the environmental clearance. PILs were filed against Mahendra Singh, Simpreet Singh and Ketan Tirodkar for criminal investigation and after the arguments taken place outside the court a criminal case was filed and looked into by the CBI. "We direct the Union and state governments to consider initiating proper civil or criminal proceedings against concerned bureaucrats and politicians, if not done so far for commit ting various offences in acquiring the land and also for abuse of powers." This was the second line in the judgement which put a stamp on the fate of political leaders and the babus. The court directed the defense ministry to consider going into indepth inquiry agaisnt the officers for not taking an action in time and to "consider initiating departmental proceedings against concerned bureaucrats" by whose help Adarsh would have gotten clearances for it's building. The court asked Adarsh to pay a 1 lakh to several officers including Sitaram Kunte, T C Benjamin, MoEF officers Senthilval, Thiru, MoEF director Bharat Bhushan and its advisor Nalini Bhat. The High Court did not mention the reasons for the same. The text which had the reasoned out judgement by the court was unavailable and the it passed the final verdict in a bunch of matters among which the first was on the petition filed by Adarsh against the MoEF demolition order. Another petition was passed by the court which was filed by the Union of India through the Indian Army. The Indian Army highlighted the threats the building had to the security as it had sensitive defence facilities  in the locality and sought that the OC must not be restored.  "The building had barely got the OC in September 2010 when the controversy erupted a month later and no family had shifted in fully yet. The court was deciding a bunch of petitions filed by Adarsh housing society , the ministry of defence and public interest litigant Santosh Daundkar. The PIL, said his lawyer Aditya Pratap, was over the height clearance for construction of the high-rise next to defence establishments." The High Court on the PIL stated that it was not gettig into it as the verdict in the petition for Adarsh covers all the aspects. Darius Khambata the defense ministry counsel said, "The order comes as vindication of the stand of MCZMA, MoEF and the Army ,'' while R C Thakur, the society secretary was unable to hide his "shock."

    OUR TAKE

    The Adarsh scam has been one of the biggest scams next only to the 2G scam and the Coalgate scam. The resulting decision is in the hands of the Supreme Court, provided they do appeal in the apex court. The housing society, meant for defence personnels and war widows, needs to finalise on their decision. We hope the justice is served and the true heroes of our country get a roof over their head.


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