Supreme Court set aside a Bombay High Court order that directed all hotels, resorts and bungalows in Goa within 500 metres of the high tide line to be demolished.
These had been constructed prior to a 1991 government notification banning any construction within 500 metres, making an exception under certain conditions for construction activity between 200 to 500 metres.
Acting on a PIL filed by the NGO Goa Foundation, the high court had on July 13, 2000, directed that these be demolished. But some hotel owners had approached the top court.
These were not per se illegal, the top court said, and nor were they without permission or sanction. But the state and the NGO claimed that these should be demolished to protect beaches as these were against existing environmental guidelines in force in the state.
These were built when the prohibition was 90 to 200 metres from the high tide line whereas the new norm, in conformity with global guidelines, was 500 metres. This was prescribed by the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), which came into effect on February 19, 1991.
The court refused to place the right to enjoy a pollution-free environment over planning regulations