Activist objecting to skyscraper in coastal zone has right to be heard, says green tribunal
The tribunal held that the application before it to challenge the construction in the highly restricted Coastal Regulation Zone 1 was "not barred by limitation of time"
Oct 07, 2014
Source : The Times of India
National Green Tribunal


MUMBAI: An upscale residential-cum-commercial skyscraper project in Oshiwara by Windsor Realty suffered a setback with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) recently holding that the activist who questioned the construction without environmental clearance in a coastal zone had a right to be heard by it.

The October 1 judgment by former Justice V R Kingaonkar, a former HC judge, and expert member Dr Ajay Deshpande in Pune is significant on two counts. One, the tribunal held that the application before it to challenge the construction in the highly restricted Coastal Regulation Zone 1 was "not barred by limitation of time".

The plans were sanctioned in 1993 and construction almost complete, argued Windsor.

The second significance is that the NGT held that activist Amit Maru had "locus standi", or the right to make the application and be heard, in the case.

Unless a person's actions in his application are "baseless, ill-motivated or result of a vendetta or for extraneous reasons", it can be considered, said the NGT. It said the question of CRZ notification violation was yet to be decided by MCZMA.

Maru, represented by advocate Aditya Pratap, had moved the NGT against the environment ministry, the national and state coastal zone management authorities and Windsor as he questioned the "enhanced construction" in the core CRZ area. The NGT was deciding a Windsor application for dismissal of Maru's plea on the grounds of maintainability due to limitation and locus as it said he was not an "aggrieved person" as defined in the NGT Act.

Windsor, represented by Raju Subramaniam and Saket Mone, said plans for a commercial building were approved in 1993 by the BMC and work was on for over a decade. So far 33 floors were up. "It was not open to Maru to now belatedly raise a dispute under a false and frivolous allegation that a cause of action arose in October 2013 ... It is pressure to shell out certain amount."

Mone said Windsor would challenge the NGT order.

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