Affirming that issues of national security are paramount,the Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the state government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) not to issue any further permissions to the controversial Adarsh housing society in Cuffe Parade.
The court passed the order while hearing a petition by the Union government through the defence department,which demanded directives from the court to implement an order to demolish the 31-storey structure. The order was passed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in January 2011.
The department reiterated that the building is a serious security threat to nearby defence installations.
In response to the petition,the division bench of Justice P B Majmudar and Justice R D Dhanuka said,No one has the right to ignore the security of the nation. The defence of the country comes first; everything else is secondary in nature.
In a lighter vein,Justice Majmudar said that in the future,people might try to sell the Gateway of India as well.
The judges reiterated a suggestion made in a previous hearing that the building can be transferred to the defence department instead of being demolished.
In its order,the court restrained both the state government and the BMC from issuing any no-objection certificate (NoC),commencement certificate (CC) or occupation certificate (OC) to Adarsh pending the resolution of the dispute.
Meanwhile,government pleader D A Nalavade told the court that the state,after the controversy erupted,has made it mandatory for any construction near defence establishments to have an NOC from the defence department. This has been done through a circular dated November 4,2010,he said.
The MMRDA also informed the judges that it has revoked the OC and has disconnected electricity and water supply to the structure. In its petition,the department said the building provides a direct view of the Colaba military station and that it can interfere with military activities in case it is occupied by hostile forces. This is the first time that the defence has moved court specifically seeking demolition of the building.