Nothing illegal in demolition of building: Meghalaya HC

August 15, 2023 by MT Bureau

Staff Reporter

Shillong, Aug 14: The Meghalaya High Court today dismissed a PIL related to the demolition of a single-storied old Assam-style building of the Pine Mount School as the matter has been left to the prerogative of the state government.  

“The demolition of the structure may not appeal to the sensibilities of the petitioner or other former students, but since nothing illegal has been brought to the notice of the Court, the prerogative must rest with the government which owns the school to decide how to fashion, design and style the same,” the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee said in its judgment.

“Since the best arguable case of the petitioner does not warrant any inference by the Court in the demolition or reconstruction work undertaken, PIL No. 9 of 2023 is dismissed without prejudice to any other rights that the petitioner may have in accordance with law,” it added.

The PIL was filed by Anuradha Paul, who is an alumnus of the Pine Mount School.

The petitioner grieved that a heritage structure which has been standing for more than a century and was once used as a hostel for the girl students in the school is suddenly being torn down. She however does not allege that any rules pertaining to heritage buildings have been infringed

The bench said indeed, the petitioner does not even assert that the relevant building has a heritage tag. There is no doubt that the building has an old-world charm about it as most of old Assam-style buildings did and the few still standing in the city continue to attract.

According to the State, the building was lying disused for several years and better facilities are proposed at the site for boarders. 

Though the petitioner claims that the school has a lot of additional land where construction work can be undertaken, the bench, however, said it does not appear proper that either the petitioner or this Court should have a say in where the owners of the school decide to put up construction and which other parts they decide to leave open.

“It is true that the memories of former students would be lost, but development and progress cannot always be stalled on the basis of sentiments,” the bench further observed.