PANJIM: In a major setback to a private firm facing accusation of constructing a structure in violation of CRZ; the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered its demolition and slapped penalty of Rs 1 lakh.
“The Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) is directed to ensure that order of High Court of Bombay at Goa passed in Writ Petition order dated December 18, 2019 and the affidavit to the effect that the illegal construction shall be demolished within the period of 30 days from the date of filing of the affidavit or order, must be complied with and GCZMA is directed to execute it forthwith,” a 19-page order delivered by bench of Justice Sheo Kumar Singh (JM) and Dr Satyawan Singh Garbyal (EM) said.
Petitioner M/s Shrem Resorts Pvt Ltd had approached the NGT alleging challenging the order of demolition, although the matter was twice heard before the high court.
As per the petitioner, the GCZMA on October 22, 2018 issued a show cause notice cum staff work order in response to a complaint alleging illegal construction. The GCZMA had also carried out site inspection before issuing the notice. “The property was in CRZ-III Zone. On May 14, 2019, the appellant received the Demolition Order dated May 9, 2019 directing the appellant to demolish the entire structure along with the compound wall and to restore the land to its original condition within 30 days from the date of receipt of the order,” reads the order citing the firm’s contention.
Aggrieved by the demolition order, the appellant thereafter moved a Writ Petition before the high court that in an order on May 22, 2019 directed GCZMA to take a decision afresh in accordance of law and principles of natural justice. The hearing re-commenced and the appellant was given an opportunity of hearing following which in October 2019, the GCZMA ordered to demolish the pergola, metallic staircase and the internal changes to the authorized structure. Shrem Resorts this time filed a Public Interest Litigation before the high court which was disposed of in December 2019.
The NGT, in its order has came down heavily on Shrem Resorts stating that an undertaking which it submitted to the high court that the illegal structure will be demolished within 30 days has not been complied with. “It is a mischief and fraudulent act on the part of the appellant. It may be taken as filing false affidavit before the Court or defrauding the proceedings of the Court by way of filing the affidavit,” the NGT observed asking the GCZMA to execute the high court order immediately.
The NGT also imposed a special cost of Rs 1 lakh to be paid by the appellant to the GCZMA as a cost of litigation, which would be utilized for the environmental purposes.