The Allahabad High Court on Friday ordered demolition of two towers being illegally developed by private developer, Supertech Limited, on plot in Noida. The towers, each of which were slated to be 40 storeys high, were being constructed in Sector-93-A. The court has ordered that the exercise be completed within four months.
Construction at the two towers (T-16 and T-17) is complete till the 21st and 17th storeys. Supertech has sold nearly 600 flats in the towers, but there is no occupancy yet.
The High Court directed the developer to bear the cost of demolition. Besides, the developer has been ordered to refund the buyers’ money, along with 14 per cent compound interest, within three months.
Further, the court directed that the officials of the Noida Authority, who gave the sanction for the construction, be identified and prosecuted against under the provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Development Area Act 1976 and UP Apartments Act, 2010.
The High Court order came on a petition filed by Emerald Court Owner residents Welfare Association. While passing the order, the bench of Justices V K Shukla and Suneet Kumar rejected the developers plea that a lot of expenses had been incurred in construction and several people had bought those flats.
“It has repeatedly come to the notice that builders, by joining hands with the officers of the development authorities, openly flout every conceivable rule, including building regulations. The builder is always under the impression that once the frame of the building is illegally constructed, the court can be persuaded to take a sympathetic view and permit the construction even though in total breach of legal provisions,” the bench said.
The court added that the builders are taking advantage of the situation, in which land prices are sky rocketing and there is scarcity of land for group housing.
“Taking advantage of the situation, the builder lobby is exploiting people’s needs by setting up illegal construction and the unfortunate part of this is that it has active assistance of the officers of the development authority; the time has come when everyone should realise that rule of law is not a purchasable commodity and illegalities will not be tolerated merely because the builder has taken protection against the sanction which admittedly is illegal and in violation of building regulations,” the court said.
The court added that such acts affect various fundamental and constitutional rights of other persons. It also leads the common man to be convinced that laws are enforced only for the poor, while those having money power or knowing people in the power corridors can get anything done, the court said.
Amit Saxena, counsel for the petitioner, said, “Our grievance was that, by adding extra towers, the basic safety norms of the other building blocks were being compromised. Fire tenders could not cross between the two buildings. Besides, vital needs such as proper light and air were being blocked and the parking space was also being violated.”
We will appeal against HC order in Supreme Court, says Supertech chief
Even as the Allahabad High Court ordered the demolition two 40-storey towers in Noida’s Emerald Court Complex, the developers Supertech Group said they would appeal in the Supreme Court against the decision.
“We have not yet received the order of the High Court to demolish the towers at our project at 93A, Noida-Greater Noida Expressway. If we receive it and it is against us, then we are going to file an appeal in the Supreme Court. The construction, which is going on at the project, is legal and is approved from Noida Authority,” R K Arora, chairman and managing director of Supertech Limited, said. Arora is also a member of Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (CREDAI), Western Uttar Pradesh.
According to residents of Emerald Court Complex, the problem has been persisting since 2009.
“The two towers in question, that we have a problem with, are being built on land allotted for a playground. At first, the developers said it was going to be 10 storeys high, then it became 24 and so on,” Raj Pal Tandon, member of Emerald Court Complex RWA, claimed. The High Court order came on a petition filed by the RWA.
Spread over 70,000 sq metres of land, and just off the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, the construction for Emerald Court Complex is currently underway.
Officers of Supertech Limited calculated the total cost of the project to be around Rs 750 crore.
Tandon, who had first moved into the residential complex in 2008, said the two-towers consists primarily of 1 BHK and 2 BHK apartment complex.
“We approached the Noida Authority several times, but they didn’t listen. So, we were forced to go to court,” he said.
Noida Authority, however refused to comment on the matter till they received a copy of the court order.
While the court has ordered that the money spent by investors for the two towers be refunded with “14 per cent interest compounded annually”, buyers expressed helplessness.
“Buyers should be given a flat in another legal project of Supertech. Builders can recover their loss in another project, but the buyers might not be able to buy a flat with the refund amount,” Annu Khan, president, Noida Extension Flat Owners and Members Association (NEFOMA), said.
The association will be holding a meeting with investors in the two towers on April 13 and have promised to agitate for their demands. (ENS)