In a landmark judgement on April 29, the Bombay High Court ordered demolition of the controversial Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai. The decision made by the bench might be considered as a tough step against the corrupt malpractices in the real estate field, and will definitely send a strong message to all the culprits, but what about the residents of the society for whom the project was actually built? The Adarsh Housing Society was proposed to be set up as a housing society meant for the welfare of war widows and personnel of defense ministry, but with the passage of time, it was revealed that several politicians, bureaucrats and military officials were a part of scam where they allegedly allotted the flats in their name. The scam, even costed the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ashok Chavan his post.
Earlier, Adarsh Housing Society had challenged the Environment Ministry’s order, but the High Court maintained the verdict and ordered for the demolition of the society. As of now, 12 weeks duration has been given to the state government so that they can appeal in the Supreme Court.
The Adarsh Housing Society is a posh, 31-storey building in Colaba, Mumbai, constructed for the welfare of Kargil war widows and personnel of India’s Ministry of Defence. As reported in the inquiry, several politicians and bureaucrats tried to bend some of the rules regarding the ownership, zoning, floor space as they were involved in getting flats allotted at the below market price in this society.
In 2011, The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), presented a report which said that the politicians and other officials who were holding good position were changing the rules for themselves so that they could grab a property.
Then Chief Mimister Ashok Chavan was also asked about the scam, but he refused to comment on this issue. According to the officials, he had two flats in the society, as a result of which, he had to resign. Besides him, some of the famous bureaucrats were also involved in the scam. Subhash K Lalla, Human Rights Commissioner and Ramanand Tiwari, Maharashtra’s Chief Information Commissioner were some of the famous bureaucrats involved in the scam.
The ruling BJP government welcomed the High Court’s verdict and termed the building a land of corruption. In its defence, the society is expected to tell the Bombay High Court that there are many societies like that of Adarsh where some of the famous politicians have played a game. According to the officials, its affidavit has mention of 14 such societies.
The court has ordered that the politicians and bureaucrats who have illegally procured flats in the place also need to clear.
But a question that remains unanswered at large, what about those residents for whom the society was actually meant for? If we consider the demolition of the building, what about the legal residents? Will they get any compensation amount? Or how much compensation amount would solve their problem of owing a house? Only time would tell.