Appeal challenging demolition of three unauthorized structures in Colva, dismissed with exemplary costs of twenty lakhs

National Green Tribunal: While terming the order passed by Goa Coastal Zone Management
Authority (GCZMA) directing demolition of three unauthorized structures in
Colva as legal, proper and correct, NGT dismissed an appeal challenging the
said order. The appeal was filed by two people claiming that they are members
of traditional fishermen community and seeking protection under Section 6(d) of
CRZ Notification, 2011. Earlier in year 2010, an NGO, Colva Civic and
Consumer Forum (CCCF) filed complaints before various authorities that
commercial structures have been constructed by illegally filling paddy fields
in Survey No 35/19. The Forum contented that the commercial structures are
blocking free flow of rain water resulting in inundation of other paddy fields,
thus destroying crops. The area fell under CRZ between 200 to 500m from HTL.
The GCZMA heard the case; mapping was done with physical site verification and
an order was passed for demolition of the commercial structures. This order was
challenged before the National Green Tribunal, principal bench, New Delhi, which remanded
the case back to the GCZMA, as the order was passed without the required
quorum. The GCZMA heard the case for a second time and passed an order of
demolition which was challenged before the NGT, Pune. A technical issue was
raised again and another hearing was afforded to the parties by the GCZMA. A
third order, after due procedures, was passed for demolition. This said order
was challenged in the appeal filed before NGT. After hearing both the parties
and perusing the documents, NGT observed “The case of appellants that they are
the members of traditional fishermen folk category and, therefore, are entitled
to protect the structures, is totally after thought and regularization sought
under Section 6(d) of the CRZ Notification, 2011, is a new case made out by
them, which cannot be permitted in the teeth of earlier orders of the Civil
Court and Hon’ble High Court.” The Tribunal further observed that one of the
appellant was a ‘protected tenant’ with regard to part of a paddy field in the
survey number, but there was no legal construction on it. NGT also noted that
the structures were being used for commercial purposes, and despite a high
court order, the appellants built two more illegal structures in land meant for
agricultural purposes. While holding that, “this litigation is classic example
of how a litigation may be again and again churned, whirled around same facts
for one or other reasons and how legal process is utilized for protraction of
litigation,” NGT imposed exemplary costs of Rs.20 lakhs upon the appellants and
directed Collector, Goa to utilize the same for environmental reliefs,
up-gradation of MSW plants and like activities. NGT also directed that out of
the total amount, Rs.2 lakh to be paid to original complainant, as litigation
costs. [Anamika Amerkar v. Goa Coastal
Zone Management Authority, 2015 SCC OnLine NGT 423, decided on 1-10-2015]
Source: Legal news India

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