As reported by Mayura Janwalkar in DNA, Mumbai, on 23 January 2008:

‘Judges’ flats: Govt asked to clarify stand

MUMBAI: In the case of the 12-floor sea-facing residential tower for high court judges and IAS officers, the petitioners have said that the plot reserved for building the high-profile government officers’ quarters was at Queen’s Barrack in Colaba and not Rocky Hill.

Chief justice Swatanter Kumar and justice JP Devadhar issued notices to the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) and Maharashtra coastal zone management authority (MCZMA) seeking their stand before the court.
The petitioners had alleged irregularities and violations by the state government and BMC in allowing the construction of flats using World Bank funds.

Earlier, government pleader DA Nalavade had said the flats were meant for government officers, not high court judges. Kumar asked the petitioner’s counsel on Tuesday why the high court was still party to the petition when the flats were not even meant for the judges. Petitioner’s advocate Pradeep Havnur said as per the government replies and information obtained through RTI Act, the flats were chiefly meant for judges. He said the high court had stopped construction of the quarters four times in 2004, and in 2006, it had said that there was no need for additional quarters for judges.

The petitioners said the project was also not cleared by the MoEF or the heritage committee. Though the state government said the heritage committee had cleared the project, documents supporting its claim were yet to be submitted to the court. They said MoEF had not cleared the building of flats for government officers. The government officers and BMC had violated the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The case has been adjourned till March 4.

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