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Demolish Twin towers of Supertech- Supreme Court

December 3, 2021

By Nihit Nagpal and Anuj Jhawar

Due to the rising cost of real estate, the Supreme Court has seen an increase in unlicensed buildings, mainly in urban areas. Various builders are colluding with officers of the development authorities to break the rules. In view of such sinister collusion, it is necessary that stern action be taken against unauthorised buildings in order to prevent future crimes.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Supertech Limited v. Emerald Court Owner Resident Welfare Association & Ors [1] reaffirmed what it said in K. Ramadas Shenoy V. Chief Officer[2]: unauthorized construction interferes with residents’ right to enjoy their land. As a result, it is the responsibility of the appropriate authority to guarantee that such unauthorised buildings do not have a negative impact on the region.[3]

Facts:

In 2004, a land measuring 48,263 sq mts was assigned to Supertech Limited (appellant) by NOIDA (New Okhla Industrial Development Authority) for the overall construction and development of a residential societies by the Emerald Court. This project has three updated designs approved by NOIDA in 2012, which increased the height of Tower 16 and 17 from 24 stories to 40 floors.

In June of that same year, the Resident Welfare Association (respondent) lodged a complaint with NOIDA that the appellants have breached the rules and misrepresented their buyers’ facts. Therefore, they tried to cancel the Towers 16 & 17 layout ideas. When no answer has been received, a written petition was filed with the Allahabad High Court in accordance with Article 226 to destroy illegal buildings (T-16 and 17).

The Court found the building under construction to be illegal and thereby contravening the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Area Development Act 1976 and the UP Apartments Act 2010. The Court found the construction illegal. It had the Twin 40 storey Tower 16 & 17 demolished and ordered the appellants to bear the costs. The Court further directed the Appellant to reimburse flat buyers for the money obtained at 12 percent interest. The court also believed that NOIDA had been granted approval by the appellant for such construction. It therefore additionally authorised the appropriate authorities to grant a penalty, within such a period of three months, for prosecution of officials at the NOIDA, as stipulated under the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Area Development Act of 1973.

In accordance with Article 136, the unhappy appellant reached the Supreme Court and contested the decision of the High Court. Furthermore, for an unbiased view, the Supreme Court designated National Buildings Construction Limited as an expertise organization.

Therefore, in the light of the above, the construction licence given after giving relaxation for the structure in dispute under the particular segment or construction that was being carried out by the parties involved was deemed to be contradictory to the regulations.[4]

Therefore, it was confirmed that the appellants had indeed infringed the stipulations of the State Laws and Rules.[5]

Issues:

Is it true that NOIDA’s approval for the building of T-16 and T-17 violates the regulatory spacing requisite?[6]

Contentions of the appellant:

The appellant’s lawyer argued that installation of T-16 and T-17 doesn’t really contravene the NBR’s 2010 proximity regulation. He further argued that the project does not contravene the UP Apartments Act of 2010 since it was approved before the Act took effect. As a result, he argued before the court to overturn the demolition order since a) the building was approved by the relevant authorities, b) 600 people have reserved apartments, and c) about 30 stories have been built.

Contentions of the respondent:

The Resident Welfare Association’s attorney contended that the appellant received the sentence improperly. According to the expert agency’s findings, the appellant disregarded the minimum distance conditions imposed by the Regulations. He further noted that the appellant neglected to acquire the approval of the flat owners prior to changing the sanctioning design, which they were required to do under the UP Apartments (promotion of construction, maintenance and ownership Act, 2010. Finally, he claimed that the appellants and NOIDA had conspired to violate the construction codes.[7]

Verdict of the Apex Court:

The Supreme Court maintained the High Court’s decision after meticulously scrutinising the project’s updated and authorized proposals and attending to the experienced counsels’ remarks. It was found that the appellants had made false pleas in order to deceive the court, and that NOIDA had likewise acted dishonestly in carrying out its obligations. The court ruled that the twin structures be demolished within three months and also that the contractor be responsible for all costs.

The facts of the case further reveal that a clear cooperation exists between appellant and the officers of the NOIDA in the sanctioning procedure, which resulted in the Supreme Court ordering the punishment of the officials responsible for breaking the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Area Development Act 1976 and UP Apartments (promotion of construction, maintenance and ownership Act 2010, pursuant to Section 49 of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Area Development Act of 1973.

Current realities of the case likewise demonstrate that there was most certainly a conspiracy between the officials of NOIDA and the litigant, during the time spent authorizing the construction on the land because of which the Supreme Court requested the approval for indicting the officials in control under Section 49 of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Area Development Act of 1973 for disregarding arrangements of Uttar Pradesh Industrial Area Development Act, 1976 and UP Apartments Act, 2010.

The Court stated in its decision that the goal of these restrictions is to assure that there really is no detrimental environmental damage and that the safety protocols are followed. Nevertheless, if they’re flagrantly broken, it goes right to the heart of urban planning. Taking this into account, unauthorized construction must be firmly dealt with in order to make sure that now the law of the land is followed.

The court mandated the appellant to take up the responsibility for the destruction of the construction and bear the expenses and that this duty of the appellant would be supervised by the NOIDA personnel. And to guarantee that demolition work is carried out safely without damaging the current arguments, the court directed NOIDA to contact its own specialists and experts of the Roorkee Central Building Research Institute.

It also directed for the demolition work to be conducted under CBRI general supervision. And if in case CBRI indicates becomes incapable to do so, the court had directed NOIDA to select another expert agency.

And since the court had already mandated for the commencement of demolition work within three months from the date of judgment, the apex court had therefore made it explicitly clear and directed the Appellants to bear the cost of destruction and any additional costs such as the charges that were to be payable to the experts. [8]

Conclusion:

The recent rulings by this Tribunal in the matter of Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority v. Kerala State[9], Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority v. Municipality of Maradu [10]and Bikram Chatterji v. Union of India[11] reaffirmed similar concerns, wherein the Apex court had ordered for dismantling any and every construction that was constructed in contravention of the Coastal Regulatory Zones Rules in the forbidden region of the CRZ category in the Maradu Municipality of Ernakulam District of Kerala. The Supreme Court also subsequently rejected the reconsideration applications submitted by the developers. The Tribunal expressed concern with the failure of the Kerala government to implement the instructions issued regarding apartments in Maradu, Kochi, on a violation of the CRZ. Ultimately, all the four disputed flats were completely demolished by the month of January in the year 2020.[12]

[1] Supertech Ltd v Emerald Court Owner Resident welfare association and ors, available at: Supertech Ltd vs Emerald Court Owner Resident … on 7 September, 2018 (indiankanoon.org)

[2] k ramadas shenoy v chief officer, available at: K. Ramadas Shenoy vs The Chief Officers, Town … on 9 August, 1974 (indiankanoon.org)

[3] Supertech Ltd v Emerald Court Owner Resident welfare association and ors, available at: Supertech Limited Vs Emerald Court Owner Resident Welfare Association & Ors: Illegal Construction Has To Be (lawyersclubindia.com)

[4] Supertech Ltd. Vs. Emerald Court Owner Resident Welfare Association | Latest Supreme Court Judgments | Law Library | AdvocateKhoj

[5] Supertech Ltd v Emerald Court Owner Resident welfare association and ors, available at: Supertech Limited Vs Emerald Court Owner Resident Welfare Association & Ors: Illegal Construction Has To Be (lawyersclubindia.com)

[6] Supertech Ltd v Emerald Court Owner Resident welfare association and ors, available at: Supertech Limited Vs Emerald Court Owner Resident Welfare Association & Ors: Illegal Construction Has To Be (lawyersclubindia.com)

[7] Supertech Ltd v Emerald Court Owner Resident welfare association and ors, available at: Supertech Ltd vs Emerald Court Owner Resident … on 7 September, 2018 (indiankanoon.org). and Supertech Ltd. Vs. Emerald Court Owner Resident Welfare Association | Latest Supreme Court Judgments | Law Library | AdvocateKhoj

[8] Supertech Ltd v Emerald Court Owner Resident welfare association and ors, available at: Supertech Limited Vs Emerald Court Owner Resident Welfare Association & Ors: Illegal Construction Has To Be (lawyersclubindia.com)

[9] The Kerala State State Coastal … vs The State Of Kerala Maradu … on 8 May, 2019 (indiankanoon.org)

[10] The Kerala State Coastal Zone … vs Maradu Municipality on 25 October, 2019 (indiankanoon.org)

[11] Bikram Chatterji & ors. vs. Union of India & ors (legex.in).

[12] Supreme Court Orders Prosecution Of NOIDA & Supertech Officials For Collusion (livelaw.in)

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