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Adarsh reply in 7 days: Environ ministry

delhi Updated: Nov 29, 2010 20:24 IST

PTI
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Describing as "unreasonable" the Adarsh Housing Society's plea seeking four weeks time to file a reply to its show-cause notice, the Environment Ministry on Monday gave it just a week to clarify its stand on the alleged violation of green norms.

On November 12, the ministry had sought the Society's reply within 15 days why its 31-storeyed building should not be demolished for violation of green norms.

While expressing its inability to reply within the stated time-frame due to "unavailability of space and basic necessities", the society on November 24 had sought four weeks time to prove its point.

Refusing to oblige, the ministry felt that its "request for four weeks is demonstratively unreasonable".

However, it noted, that in order to leave no cause for complaint "we grant you an extension of seven days further time from the date of issue of this letter to submit your reply".

The ministry also took a dig at the lawyer representing the society for claiming that his client was handicapped due to space and basic necessities while "you have been in no way impaired in the preparation and filing of a comprehensive writ petition in the Bombay High Court...

"(It) demonstrates no infirmity in the access to relevant documents and materials. Your statement that "substantial time has been spent in collecting documents and preparing for the writ petitions...amply validates this understanding."

This apart, the ministry pointed out, the "contents of your letter show that your client is fully in possession" of all facts, pages and documents.

Incidentally, in its petition filed last week in the Mumbai High Court, the society has submitted documents to support its claim that clearance from the environment ministry was not needed.

The ministry also brought to the notice of the society that the notice represented a culmination of the controversy, given that from the outset the question whether there was environmental approval was squarely an issue.

"But significantly, you have chosen to give a comprehensive response on factual, legal and constitutional issues. This clearly and compelling shows you have not been handicapped in any manner in the preparation of your reply," it said.

"Thus your challenge to the very existence of the CRZ notification and your interpretation of the provisions of the Environment Protection Act represent opinions rather than legal fact," it noted.

While giving seven days for filing reply, the ministry has also allowed the society to appear with its legal counsel.