'Adarsh' won't be demolished sans hearing: HC

The infamous 'Adarsh' building at Colaba in Mumbai won't come tumbling down just yet. The Bombay high court today said that before passing any "drastic" order - such as demolition - it would first hear both the Adarsh Housing Society and the union ministry of environment and forests.

Last week, Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had said that unless the court intervened, the state government would have no option but to demolish the building, allegedly riddled with irregularities.

"Anything which is illegal needs to be demolished. We agree with that, but at this stage we would like to first hear the arguments to satisfy our judicial conscience. Demolition is a drastic step," said a division bench of justices Ranjana Desai and R G Ketkar.

The court was hearing the petition filed by the society challenging the demolition order passed by the ministry of environment and forests in January.

The MoEF ordered the demolition of the 31-storey building after concluding that it was unauthorised and had violated several norms. The society had got three months' time to file appeal.

The high court posted the matter for hearing on 27 April. The judges observed, "We are assured that the MOEF would maintain status quo until the court decides the case. Nothing drastic will happen. In case it does, the society can rush to the court immediately.