31 Aug 2021: SC directs demolition of 'illegal' Supertech twin towers in Noida
The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the demolition of the twin towers in the Emerald Court project of Supertech Builders in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The court ruled that the construction was done illegally and there was collusion between the builders and Noida officials. The court has directed Supertech Builders to carry out the demolition within three months. Here are more details.
Court: 'Noida's sanction to Supertech violated minimum distance requirement, building code'
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah concluded that the sanction given by the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA) to Supertech Builders in November 2019 violated minimum distance requirements and the national building code. Upholding a 2014 Allahabad High Court order, the SC ordered the demolition of Towers 16 & 17 (Apex & Ceyane) situated on Plot 4, Sector 93A, Noida.
Observations: 'Case replete with instances showing collusion'
The SC bench observed that there was collusion between Noida officers and Supertech Builders to allow the construction of the twin towers illegally. Pronouncing the order, Justice Chandrachud said, "The record of the case is replete with instances which shows collusion of Noida authority with the builder...Collusion is writ large in the case." "Illegal construction has to be dealt with strictly," the bench observed.
Observations: Residents' consent was required before construction: SC
Further, the bench observed, "The protection of the environment and well-being of the people who occupy this has to be balanced with the need of increasing demand for urban housing." The SC noted that, as per the UP Apartment Act, consent of individual flat owners had to be taken since the twin towers' construction led to a reduction in the common area.
Directives: What are the SC's directions?
The court directed Supertech to demolish Towers 16 & 17 within three months at its own cost. The demolition will be overseen by the Central Building Research Institute(CBRI). Supertech shall also refund all amounts to the buyers of apartments in the twin towers with a 12% per annum interest rate. Supertech has been directed to pay Rs. 2 crore to the Resident Welfare Association.
Allahabad HC: What was the Allahabad HC order?
In April 2014, the Allahabad HC had directed the demolition of the twin towers within four months at the builder's cost. It had also observed that Noida authorities and Supertech officials had exposed themselves for prosecution, taking note of collusion. The HC had also directed Supertech to refund the amounts to buyers of apartments in the twin towers with a 14% interest compounded annually.
Fact: SC had stayed demolition in 2014
However, in May 2014, an SC bench comprising then-Chief Justice RM Lodha, Justices Madan Lokur, and Kurian Joseph had stayed the demolition. The court had held that the status quo shall be maintained. It also restrained Supertech from selling/transferring any flat in the two towers.
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