Adarsh Society can not be regularized: environment ministry

Adarsh Society can not be regularized: environment ministry

Mumbai: Saying that Adarsh Housing Society had brazenly violated the law, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests on Monday ruled out the possibility of regularizing the 31-storey building, at a hearing before the Bombay High Court.

The division bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and R G Ketkar was hearing the petition filed by the Society, challenging the 16 January 2011 demolition order passed by the Ministry.

“Adarsh building is one case that cannot be regularized. The entire building was constructed without CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) clearance. The Society has been repeatedly behaving as if the law does not apply to them," said additional solicitor general Darius Khambatta, appearing for MoEF.

The Society “deliberately misconstrued" the letter dated 11 March, 2003 issued by the MoEF to the Urban Development Department (UDD) of Maharashtra, he argued.

“According to law, any construction in coastal area needs recommendation of the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA), which is a central authority. In January 2003, the state government forwarded the proposal of Adarsh Society (to construct the building) to the Centre. In March 2003, the MoEF replied stating since the plot falls within coastal zone, permission needs to be taken from the appropriate authority," Khambatta said.

But the state government wrongly interpreted this letter, and P V Deshmukh, the then under secretary of UDD, wrote to Adarsh’s promoters that Centre had granted clearance, he argued.

"Deshmukh, who has been named as an accused by CBI in its probe in the Adarsh scam, was aware about the provisions of MCZMA, as the Urban Development department is a part of MCZMA,“ Khambatta said.

He further said that UDD or MMRDA (development authority for the area) had no powers to sanction construction of any plot in CRZ.

Arguing that several rules were flouted by the Society, Khambatta said that Adarsh had only 1.33 Floor Space Index (FSI), but illegally utilised up to 1.77 FSI.

The hearing will continue on Tuesday.