On Friday, the Supreme Court stayed the demolition of Goa’s iconic Curlies Beach Restaurant’s buildings in one particular survey number with subject to the condition that they will not undertake commercial operations till the next hearing date.
It was made clear by the court that if there are unauthorized constructions in land other than the specified survey number then they can certainly be demolished.
In the present case, the owners of the restaurant approached the Court challenging the demolition action started by the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority over violations of the CRZ regulations. Recently, the BJP leader Sonali Phogat found dead in the restaurant on August 23, after being allegedly drugged. However, the Goa Police has arrested Edwin Nunes, the owner of the restaurant, after Methamphetamine, allegedly given to Phogat, was found in the bathroom of the shack. Bail has been granted to Nunes by a court in Mapusa. An appeal was made by the owners to the Supreme Court, while the demolition action was underway. An urgent mention of the matter was made by the Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi before the Chief Justice of India UU Lalit’s bench.
A notice is being issued by the bench to the Goa Coastal Management Authority and other respondents. Thus, the National Green Tribunal had upheld the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority’s earlier order to demolish the iconic shack. The notice has been issued to the respondent and the demolishment has been stayed.
The bench comprising of Chief Justice U.U. Lalit, Justice Ravindra Bhat and the Justice P.S. Narasimha made the matter to be returnable on the next Friday and stated that in the meantime the court required all reports as part of assessment including pictures and photographs on the matter.
The bench of CJI Lalit noted–
An urgent listing of the matter was mentioned and while considering the facts that the order was passed on 6th September 2022 and the fact that the demolition has been going on, we have taken this matter on board and have heard the counsel. However, the appellant invited our attention to certain documents which show that the structure in Survey 42/10 was in existence prior to 1991. Further, it was submitted by Mr. Ahmadi that his clients stands by the statement which was recorded by NGT to the effect that only 42/10 belongs to the appellants and other structures do not belong to the appellant. A notice is being issued to this appeal returnable on next Friday. On behalf of the Goa Coastal Management Authority, the notice has been accepted and the other respondents be served notice.
Further, the court directed that being consistent with the statement made by appellant, structures in existence in lands other than Survey 42/10, are not being covered by the width of this order. Resultantly, if there be unauthorised construction in lands other than the demolition can certainly go on. Hence, there shall be stay on demolition with respect to structure of 42.10 subject to the appellants not undertaking any commercial activities in respect of structures. Accordingly, the court directed the Respondents to file response before Wednesday in connection with the matter along with pictures and reports.