Pronouncing that 31-storey Adarsh apartments was illegally constructed, the Bombay High Court on Friday directed the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to demolish the tower in Colaba area of South Mumbai and sought criminal proceedings against politicians and bureaucrats for “misuse” of powers.
However, on a plea made by the Adarsh Housing Society, a division bench stayed its order for 12 weeks to enable it to file an appeal in the Supreme Court, despite opposition by the Maharashtra government.
The court also asked the Centre and Maharashtra Government to consider initiating civil and criminal proceedings against bureaucrats, ministers and politicians, if not already done, for various offences in acquiring the plot on which Adarsh Society stands and also for misuse and abuse of powers.
The bench of Justices RV More and R G Ketkar delivered its order on a bunch of petitions filed by Adarsh Society challenging the demolition order of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and a title suit filed by the Defence Ministry claiming that it owned the land on which the 31-storey society building was constructed.
“The disciplinary authority shall take decision in accordance with law without being influenced by the findings of the high court,” said the bench.
The High Court bench had reserved order after hearing all the parties in December 2015.
The Adarsh housing scam kicked up a political storm in 2010 forcing the then Chief Minister Ashok Chavan of the Congress to resign after coming under its cloud.
The housing project, standing on prime land in Mumbai, was meant for the welfare of war veterans and war widows. But several influential politicians and top bureaucrats allegedly subverted the rules for their own benefit or that of their close relatives to take advantage of the scheme.
The building remains unoccupied and without electricity and water supply.