Adarsh building to be removed entirely
The Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) has decided to remove the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society (ACHS) building in Mumbai. Out of the three potions the Ministry has decided to remove entire structure. It was, ‘Removal of the entire structure since it is unauthorised and no clearance whatsoever under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 1991 was obtained.’
Other two options were removal of that part of the structure in excess of the FSI that might have been allowed had the requisite permission been sought from the appropriate authority and recommending government takeover of the building for a public use to be determined later.
Shri Jairam Ramesh, minister of state for Environment and Forests (I/C) Said, “Option II of part removal was rejected since this would have been tantamount to regularising or condoning an egregious violation of the CRZ Notification, 1991. Option III was rejected because (i) even though the final use may be in the public interest, it would still be tantamount to regularising a violation of the CRZ Notification, 1991; and (ii) there would be substantial discretionary powers that would vest with the State or Central Government in case of takeover.”
Shri Jairam further said, “I have decided on Option I. The fact that there may well be other cases of similar violations provides no grounds for mitigation of the penalty attracted by such an egregious violation as that by ACHS. Any other decision would have diluted the strong precedents that have been set in judgments of the Supreme Court and different High Courts. ACHS has violated the very spirit of the CRZ Notification, 1991 by not even acknowledging the need for clearance under this Notification. Whether they were aware of such requirement or not is immaterial as ignorance of law can never be an excuse for non-compliance.”
Elaborating on Coastal Regulatory Zone Notification Shri Jairam added, “Finally, I wish to reiterate that the CRZ Notification, 2011 published on January 7th, 2011 makes no difference to ACHS-like cases. In addition to the safeguards provided for such cases in the CRZ Notification, 2011 itself, this practice is substantiated by the principle enshrined in Article 20(1) of the Constitution which states “No person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of a law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence…”. Thus, ACHS was in violation when the CRZ Notification, 1991 was extant, action was initiated by the MoE&F when the CRZ Notification, 1991 was extant and therefore the action against ACHS will continue to be pursued.”