Builders who sought stay on construction in catchment area withdraw plea ‘unconditionally’.

Lawyers and amicus curiae cry foul,allege builders were batting for Tata.

Written by RAGHAV OHRI | Chandigrah | Published:September 29, 2013 1:11 am

On March 14,2011 the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered complete stay on construction in the catchment area of Sukhna Lake. ‘Aggrieved’,few builders had moved the Supreme Court against the high court order. This stay (March 14,2011) was granted three months after the high court had stayed the construction of Tata Camelot housing project which falls in the catchment area. (January 20,2011)

For nearly two years,the builders pursued their appeal in the Supreme Court. Interestingly,barely a fortnight after the Punjab and Haryana High Court lifted its stay on the construction of the Camelot project,the builders withdrew their appeal ‘unconditionally’.

The development assumes significance as the high court has lifted stay only on the construction of Tata Camelot housing project. A division bench of the high court,however,made it clear that its stay on all other constructions in the Sukhna catchment area,granted on March 14,2011,will continue till further orders.

Surprisingly,the builders had challenged the March 14 order. Despite no relief from the high court,the builders,for reasons best known to them,decided to withdraw their appeal. Sample this: On August 21 the high court lifted stay only for Tata Camelot project making it clear that all other constructions will not be allowed till the court lifts its stay. On September 2,the builders request the Supreme Court to allow them to withdraw their appeal ‘unconditionally’. The same has been allowed.

Crying foul,and dubbing it a proxy litigation on behalf of Tata,the amicus curiae in the case had contended that the withdrawal is not bonafide. The opposite counsels averred that the builders were batting for Tata. The builders had challenged the overall stay on construction in catchment area. Despite the high court refusing to vacate the stay,the builders,after two years,have withdrawn their appeal.

“Counsel for the petitioners,seeks withdrawal of these special leave petitions unconditionally. Special leave petitions are dismissed as withdrawn. In view of dismissal of special leave petitions,pending interlocutory applications do not survive and they stand dismissed as such”,reads the Supreme Court order.

On August 21,a division bench of the high court had cleared the decks for the Tata Camelot Housing project. However,the court had made it clear that the housing project will be allowed to come up only after it obtains the mandatory clearances and permissions from the Centre and state government authorities. The Court had granted Tata permission to construction on the basis of a judgment passed by the high court last year wherein all legal and other issues pertaining construction of the housing project were decided.

Counsel for Tata had claimed that Tata has already obtained all the necessary and mandatory clearances from the authorities.

Timeline

* January 20,2011: High court stays construction of Tata Camelot Project

* March 14,2011: High court,in a separate petition concerning Sukhna Lake,stays all kinds of construction in the catchment area. Few months later builders file an appeal in Supreme Court against this order

* March 26,2012: High court disposes of matter directing Tata to obtain mandatory permissions,clearances from central and state authorities.

* August 21,2013: Decks cleared for the construction of housing project. High court refuses to vacate its stay on other constructions in catchment area.

* September 2,2013: Builders withdraw their appeal ‘unconditionally’

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