In a respite to the Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society which would have faced the axe in two days, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing on the appeal against demolition order till April 27, stating that it was assured that nothing “drastic” will happen till the court hears both the sides.
The court will give a final hearing on the matter on April 27.
Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said the Ministry would not proceed with demolition before the final hearing.
“Although no formal stay order was passed by the learned Bench nor any other interim relief granted, it seems appropriate to respect the outcome of the judicial process and not proceed with any demolition before the hearing scheduled on the 27th April, 2011,” a statement issued by Mr. Ramesh on Wednesday said.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests had passed a demolition order against the Society on January 14, stating that it had violated many environmental norms. The Society moved the High Court on February 17, challenging the petition.
The MoEF order had given three months period to the Society for the demolition of the building, after which the Ministry would have taken action.
But the court observed here on Wednesday that it was necessary to hear both the sides before approving any drastic step like demolition. “This should not be a signal that we want to stay the demolition,” Division Bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and R.G. Ketkar said. “But we must hear both of you properly to satisfy our judicial conscience,” the Bench said.
The court observed that there was no doubt that illegal structures should be demolished. But it said that the petition filed by the Society raised certain questions which needed the attention of the court.
Additional Solicitor-General Darius Khambatta appearing for the MoEF said there was no question of legalising illegal construction and such structures have to be demolished.
The court did not pass any order in the matter about staying the demolition order, neither did the ministry commit anything. But the bench said, “status quo should be maintained till the matter is heard.”
‘Gidwani owns six flats'
In an affidavit submitted to the Bombay High Court, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has said that one of the accused mentioned in the First Information Report ex-MLC Kanhaiyalal Gidwani owns six flats in the Society and not three. “Three flats are owned by the family and three are benami flats,” official sources said.
Commission visits site
Meanwhile, the two-member commission appointed by the State government to look into the lapses in the formation of the Adarsh Society inspected the building along with the officials of 25 government departments.
“We inspected the place for nearly five hours,” Commission secretary N.N. Kumbhar said.