Demolition of 350 residential flats, Harish Salve’s monumental failure to defend Govt. of Kerala




Today is probably one of the saddest days in my life as a lawyer. Sri Harish Salve, whom the media has always glorified as one of the greatest of lawyers for his hair splitting arguments, a national icon since his appearance in Kulbhushan Jhadav, reduced himself to be one of the very ordinary lawyers, a defacto psychofant, agreeing to every word of the court, servile to the very core and betraying the state of Kerala whom he represented. The court took a very high moral standing, that it is ordering the demolition of the building to save the thousands of people who stay in the apartments, as if the apartments in question are all likely to collapse posing great risk to the limbs and lives of the residents. The Hon’ble court is manifestly under the impression that the buildings are unfit and unless it is demolished many lives would be lost. None of the lawyers present in the court, i am afraid to say, ventured to correct the court that there is no threat to the lives and limbs of the residents. The apartments are safe structures indeed. Inspite of the apprehension i expressed in the social media that Salve will not have the courage to bring to the notice of the court that its orders are without jurisdiction, in violation of the statute and in violation of the principles of natural justice, Sri Salve, did not venture to do so. To be fair to Sri Salve, he had made an attempt to point out that the structures came into existence because of the High Court has permitted the construction.
The Chief Secretary who incidentally is an old friend of mine, being a junior to me in, at the cost of hurting him, i must say, completely failed in the discharge of his duty to the people of Kerala in agreeing to pay an amount totalling Rs.100 crores, the tax payers money, without there being any budgetary allocation as compensation for the world class structures, the demolition of which, in the name of environmental protection, is certain to cause great environmental damage. It would mean waste of tons and tons of cement, steel, wood, metal, manpower, all in the name of worship of technicality.
Brothers of the state, country men, today’s Supreme Court’s order is a great calamity, one which Sri Salve could have well avoided. But there is no reason to be hopeless. The tax payers money cannot be allowed to be wasted. All judicial decisions are amenable to correction. I have been in the forefront, with the fellow activists of the NLC, shoulder to shoulder with me, in extending all possible help to the victims of the judgement of the Supreme Court. I came to Delhi today because some of the flat owners wanted me to represent their cause. However, i couldn’t have represented because there was no unanimity of opinion. Some were even mortally afraid that the Hon’ble court would be irked because the court has expressed it’s anger on previous occasions when recall of the order was sought.