Mumbai: A division bench of the Bombay high court on Monday recused itself from hearing a petition filed by scam-tainted Adarsh Housing Society challenging the demolition order passed by the Union ministry of environment and forest (MoEF).
A division bench of justices V.M. Kanade and Girish Kulkarni recused itself from hearing the petition after justice Kulkarni informed the lawyers that he had appeared for MoEF in some cases earlier when he was a lawyer. The order for demolishing the upscale Society in posh Colaba was passed in January 2011 for alleged violation of coastal regulation zone (CRZ) norms and not obtaining permission from the ministry before construction.
The Society had then approached the high court challenging the demolition order on the ground that all requisite permissions were taken from the state government prior to constructing the building. In January 2013, the Society filed an application seeking transfer of its petition to the National Green Tribunal. The 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.
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 claimed. The high court had, however, rejected the application seeking transfer, following which the petition challenging the demolition order came up for hearing on Monday. With this bench recusing itself, the petition would now be posted before another division bench.