The Bombay High Court has set aside an order passed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to demolish a bungalow, allegedly built by a BJP politician, in the UNESCO heritage zone in Old Goa city of Goa.
In the order passed on Tuesday, the Goa bench of the high court said the ASI did not follow due procedure while ordering demolition on August 16, 2022.
The bungalow, which stands close to St Cajetan Church, drew protests from various organisations and political parties who claimed that the construction violated several rules and its owner was a Mumbai-based BJP politician.
The ASI’s order was challenged in the high court by the Mumbai-based firm which had developed the property, Corvus Urban Infrastructure LLP.
A division bench of Justices Mahesh Sonak and Bharat P Deshpande noted that the ASI order nowhere disclosed if any show-cause notice had been issued to Corvus Urban Infrastructure before the demolition order was passed.
“There was no information either about such a notice being sent to previous owner, Suvarna Suraj Lotlikar,” the HC added.
The ASI order claimed that there were discrepancies in the sale deeds regarding the structure, therefore it should have first sought explanation from Lotlikar or the petitioner, the court said.
By not giving any hearing, the ASI violated the principles of natural justice, the High Court held.