Bombay High Court Orders Demolition of Adarsh Building But Stays Order for Three Months

The court asked the Centre and the Maharashtra government to initiate proceedings against bureaucrats, ministers and politicians involved in the scam.

Credit: PTI.

Credit: PTI.

Mumbai: Holding that the scam-tainted 31-storey Adarsh building was illegally constructed, a division bench of the Bombay high court directed the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to demolish the building, located in the Colaba area of south Mumbai. The court also sought the initiation of criminal proceedings against politicians and bureaucrats for alleged misuse of powers.

The court ruled that the demolition should be carried out at the expense of the Adarsh Housing Society (AHS).

However, responding to a plea made by the AHS, the bench stayed its order for 12 weeks to enable the society to file an appeal in the Supreme Court, despite opposition from the Maharashtra government.

The court also asked the Centre and the state government to consider initiating civil and criminal proceedings against bureaucrats, ministers and politicians for various offences related to acquiring the plot on which the AHS stands and for the misuse and abuse of powers, if this had not already been done.

However, it noted that the courts concerned shall decide the cases on the basis of evidence on record and in accordance with law, undeterred by the observations or findings made by the high court in this judgement.

The order was delivered in an open court by a bench of Justices R.V. More and R.G. Ketkar on petitions filed by the AHS challenging the demolition order of the MoEF, as well as a title suit filed by the defence ministry claiming that it owned the land on which the building was constructed.

The court further asked the Centre and state government to consider taking departmental proceedings against bureaucrats in accordance with the law.

“The disciplinary authority shall take (the) decision in accordance with law without being influenced by the findings of the high court,” said the bench.

The bench placed on record its appreciation for complainant Simpreet Singh, a member of the National Alliance of People’s Movement. “But for this intervention, perhaps the gross violation by the petitioners (Adarsh Society) would not have been detected,” said the judges.

The court also asked the AHS to pay one lakh rupees to each of the six respondents, including Bharat Bhushan, director at MoEF, MoEF advisor Nalini Bhat, Sitaram Kunte, former Brihanmumbai municipal corporation commissioner.