Noida on Wednesday drew flak from the Supreme Court for failing to provide sanctioned plan to the Supertech’s Emerald Court project home buyers saying, “you (the authority) are reeking with corruption right from your eyes and nose”.
A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah, which reserved verdict on the appeal of Supertech against the Allahabad High Court order directing demolition of twin 40-storey towers, said that when home buyers asked for the plan, the authority wrote to the developer on whether to share it and refused to give the plan to them at its behest.
“This is a shocking exercise of power. You (NOIDA) are not only in league but in cahoots with the Supertech. When home buyers asked for a sanctioned plan, you wrote to Supertech whether you should give the document or not and on denial you refused to give them the plan.”
“It was only after the High Court expressly directed you to give that you had given them. You are reeking with corruption from eyes, nose and on the face of it,” the bench said.
The top court, during the day-long hearing, also asked the Noida that being a regulatory urban planning authority it should take a neutral stand.
“Being an authority, you should take a neutral stand instead of defending the acts of Supertech. You cannot take a private stand for any promoter,” the bench told advocate Ravindra Kumar, appearing for Noida.
Ravindra Kumar drew the flak from the court when he tried to justify the construction of the twin 40-storey towers in the project saying it was done as per the plan approved by the authority.
The bench remarked that how did Noida, in its “eternal wisdom”, allow a 40-storey tower to come up in the green area.
Ravindra Kumar said it was not green land as alleged by home buyers as a concrete structure was shown in the 2006 sanctioned plan where these towers have come up.
Dealing with the NBCC inspection report, Ravindra Kumar said it was prepared after discussion with home buyers and Supertech and Noida were not involved in the meeting.
“They (NBCC) have said that twin towers defied the distance criteria between the two buildings but I was not involved in the meetings. We had objected to the findings of the NBCC,” he said.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Supertech Ltd, defended the construction of twin towers and said that there was no illegality in it.
He said that Supertech lost the case before the High Court on two counts — one is distance criteria and other not taking consent of home buyers before constructing the towers.
Vikas Singh said that the Emerald Court Owner Resident Welfare Association, which has filed the case before the High Court challenging the construction of twin towers was not even in existence when the plan was sanctioned and construction had begun.
“Our plan was sanctioned in 2009 and thereafter construction began. The RWA came into existence in 2013, then how can I get its consent as required by law before the construction began,” he said, adding that the builder cannot knock at the door of each and every flat buyer and seek consent.
Dealing with minimum distance criteria between two buildings, Vikas Singh said that between 40-storey Tower 17 and 11- storey Tower one there is a distance of 9.88 metres, which is around 32 feet distance, enough to allow a fire brigade to move.
“The National Building Code prescribes 9 metre distance between two buildings. This is being followed by the Delhi Development Authority. Many states have minimum distance criteria of 9 metres to 16 metres. We have followed the minimum distance required,” he said.
Vikas Singh said that out of 633 people booking the flats initially, 133 have moved out to other projects, 248 have taken refunds and 252 home buyers have still had their bookings with the company.
“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. There was no blockage of view of the green area from tower-1 as they did not have any balcony or window on that side. They had only one window in the toilet facing that area where construction of these towers are done,” Vikas Singh said.
Senior advocate Jayant Bhushan, appearing for home buyers, opposed the arguments of Vikas Singh and said that building by-laws were not followed in the construction of both the towers. The bench asked all the parties to file their written submission by August 9 and reserved its verdict.
On Tuesday, the top court had told Vikas Singh that what his client has done is “palpably wrong” as the towers were constructed by encroaching upon the green common area of the housing society.
Supertech had told the top court that its Emerald Court owner Resident Welfare Association has been terrorising the builder by making unwarranted claims.
The top court was hearing appeals of Supertech Ltd and other petitions filed by home buyers for or against the Allahabad High Court’s 2014 order directing demolition of the twin towers for being in violation of norms.
The two towers, Apex and Ceyane of Emerald Court Project of Supertech, together have 915 apartments and 21 shops. Of these, initially, 633 flats were booked.
On April 11, 2014, the Allahabad High Court ordered the demolition of the two buildings within four months and the refund of money to apartment buyers.