Apex Court sets aside Green Tribunal order to demolish Curlie’s


The Supreme Court of India set aside the order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that had ordered the demolition of Curlie’s beach shack at the Anjuna beach leading to its partial demolition back in September last year.

In its order, the Supreme Court, while not commenting on the merits of the case, ruled that the order passed by the NGT was not sustainable as it was passed without the presence of the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority, whose absence denied the owners of the structure an “appropriate opportunity” to defend their case.

“The order impugned was passed on 06.09.2022, on which day, the respondents herein (GCZMA), had not appeared in the proceedings before the NGT… the GCZMA had filed an application before the NGT on 07.09.2022 reflecting the reason as to why they were unable to join the proceedings, and seeking for a fresh hearing of the matter,” the Supreme Court of India bench of Justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli observed.

The Additional Solicitor General while defending the demolition order had argued that “since the ultimate order passed by the NGT is in favour of the respondents, their absence, at this stage would not be material.”

However the applicants (Curlie’s owners) made a case that the absence of the GCZMA during the hearing has prejudiced their cause since they were “denied of an opportunity of putting forth their contentions in response to the contentions to be urged on behalf of the respondents so as to clarify the factual position so as to enable the NGT to take an informed decision.”

The order to demolish Curlie’s nightclub allegedly for violating the CRZ norms was curiously passed in the immediate aftermath of the death of BJP leader and actress Sonali Phogat who had visited the nightclub and was where she was last seen alive the night she died.

“In that circumstance, we feel that the principles of natural justice would require that an appropriate opportunity be granted to both the parties and then, an appropriate decision be taken by the NGT,” the SC observed. 

“Hence, without adverting to the merits of the rival contentions, only on the procedural aspect, we deem it appropriate to set aside order dated 06.09.2022 passed by the NGT, Special Bench and restore Appeal No. 48/2016(WZ) and MA No. 212/2016(WZ) to the file of the NGT to provide opportunity to both the parties and pass fresh orders in accordance with law,” the Supreme Court said. 

The interim protection that was granted to the structure the day the owner of Curlie’s Linet Nunes approached the Supreme Court while the demolition was underway will continue to be operational.

More than two-thirds of the extended Curlie’s structure was demolished by the State administration with only a portion of the core area surviving thanks to the protection offered by the Supreme Court.

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