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The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has been directed by the Bombay High Court to file its reply to a plea by the controversial Adarsh housing society to transfer its petition challenging the demolition order to the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

A division bench of acting Chief Justice D D Sinha and Justice K K Tated directed the society to file the formal application seeking transfer within two weeks and asked the Union government to file its reply by January 29

The society had based its plea on a direction given by the Supreme Court while hearing the Bhopal gas tragedy case that all matters questioning the provisions of environmental laws should be heard by the green tribunal.

The high court bench, which had last week said the matter should stand, transferred to the green tribunal automatically if there are such directions from the apex court, today maintained that the NGT Act does not have provision for automatic transfer.

According to justice Sinha, “We will first have to hear the matter. Some adjudication is required. We need to see if this matter falls under the ambit of the Green Tribunal Act.”

According to the society, it had filed a petition in February last year challenging the demolition order passed by the MoEF since the green tribunal was not functioning then. However, now that two benches have been constituted the plea should be transferred there.

The order for demolishing the society in posh Colaba was passed in January 2011 for alleged violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms and not obtaining permission from the Ministry before starting construction.

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