New Delhi/Mumbai: The
environment ministry Sunday ordered that the scam-hit Adarsh
housing society building in Mumbai be demolished within three
months for Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) violations. The society
said it would challenge the order in court.
The ministry, in its 29-page order, concluded that the 31-storey
structure built at Block 6, Backbay Reclamation Area in Mumbai's
upscale Colaba area, is "unauthorised" and should be removed in
its entirety and the area be restored to its original condition.
"In case, the above directions are not complied within three
months from the date of receipt of this order, the ministry will
be constrained to enforce this direction, and undertake action
under Section 15 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986," the
The building in Mumbai's plush Colaba locality was originally
meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil War heroes and
their kin but was later extended to 31 floors allegedly without
Under the CRZ, permission has to be sought for any construction in
coastal areas. The ministry, in its order, concluded that Adarsh
society had not obtained the necessary prior clearance under the
CRZ Notification, 1991.
According to the order, the ministry looked at three options -
removal of the entire structure because it is unauthorised,
removal of excess part of the structure and government takeover of
the building for public use.
The last two options were rejected as this would have been
tantamount to regularizing a violation of the CRZ Notification, it
"Therefore, in light of all the facts, circumstances, discussions,
consideration, reasoning and analysis in the Adarsh Cooperative
Housing Society (ACHS) dossier, I have decided on option 1
(demolition)," said Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in New
"It is immaterial whether the Adarsh Society was aware of the
requirement to seek clearance under Coastal Regulation Zone rules.
Ignorance of law can never be an excuse for non-compliance," he
The environment ministry had in November last year served a notice
to the society asking it why the illegal floors in the building
should not be demolished.
Adarsh society's counsel Satish Maneshinde said the environment
ministry's decision had been made in a hurry and that they would
move court against it.
"The tenor of the order is completely malafide and we challenge
the demolition order," Maneshinde told NDTV in Mumbai.
"To pass an order on a Sunday like this without even any legal
precedence, I totally feel it is a malafide order and we challenge
it as and when we get the copy of the order," he said.
Asked about the legal options, Maneshinde said: "The first legal
option is to approach the high court and society will decide the
next course of action. I will advice them after seeing the copy of
the order it is premature to tell what we are going to do."
The Adarsh society building became the centre of a scam that
claimed the job of former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan
after allegations surfaced of collusion between bureaucrats and
politicians to corner flats in the building constructed on a prime
plot measuring nearly 6,500 sq metres in south Mumbai.
The society, in its Jan 4 hearing before the ministry, said that
the CRZ notification does not apply to their housing complex as
the provisions of the notification expressly apply to the
industrial processes and operations and not to the residential