Twin 40-floor residential towers in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida – which house over 900 flats and were built by real estate firm Supertech – will be demolished over the violation of construction by-laws, the Supreme Court said Tuesday, as it upheld an April 2014 decision by the Allahabad High Court.
The company has said it will file a review petition against the judgement.
A two-member bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah slammed the towers’ illegal construction, which they ruled was achieved by collusion and an “unholy nexus” between Noida (New Okhla Industrial Development Area) authorities and the builders.
People who had bought homes in these projects must be refunded in two months, and the cost of demolition, which must take place in three months, is to be borne by Supertech, the court ruled.
“(There are) repeated instances of collusion between authorities and developers – complicity of Noida authorities… breach of building plans, refusal of authorities to share building plans with residents, violation of building norms… The High Court dealt with these issues and, correctly, concluded collusion between authorities and developers,” Justice Chandrachud said.
The court also slammed a “rampant increase in unauthorised construction” and stressed that protection of the environment and safety of residents had to be considered at all times.
“This construction dilutes safety standards (and) illegalities have to be dealt with strictly. (The) sanction given by Noida authorities is violative of building regulations… goes against minimum distance requirements between towers… fire safety norms have been violated… garden area was violated to construct the towers,” the court pointed out.
Supertech had defended its construction by insisting there was nothing illegal. Among other arguments made by Vikas Singh, the lawyer representing the company, was that the residents welfare association that filed the case did not exist when construction started.
“We have followed the minimum distance criteria, followed the fire safety norms and all other parameters. There was no illegality as canvassed by the home buyers,” he had said.
In its last hearing on the matter (earlier this month), a furious top court came down hard on Noida authorities for failing to provide copies of the sanctioned plan, as requested by home buyers.
“You (the authority) are reeking with corruption right from your eyes and nose,” the court said, adding, “This is a shocking exercise of power. You are not only in league with the Supertech.”
“When home buyers asked for a sanctioned plan, you wrote to Supertech (asking if) you should give the document… It was only after the (Allahabad) High Court expressly directed you to give that you had given them,” the court said.
The court also demanded to know why and how the Noida authorities, in their “eternal wisdom”, permitted large construction projects such as this in a designated ‘green area’.
The two towers – Apex and Ceyane – of Supertech’s Emerald Court Project – together have 915 apartments and 21 shops. Of these, initially, 633 flats were booked