The Supreme Court on Monday directed real estate firm Supertech to deposit Rs 10 crore for refunding money to the investors, who want to opt out of its Emerald Towers project which has two 40-storey residential buildings in Noida. A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar asked Supertech to deposit the money by September 22 in the apex court registry while rejecting the request of senior counsel Salman Khurshid, appearing for the real estate firm, to reduce the amount.
“How many cases will these people (investors) file? They have spent their lives, their earnings to get a house,” the bench said while adding that deposited money would be refunded to the investors on a ‘pro-rata’ (proportional) basis.
Meanwhile, Khurshid told the bench that Supertech has already paid Rs 107 crore to the investors and depositing Rs 10 crore would be “too much” for it. “We (Supertech) have already paid 107 crore to investors. Now we are bleeding. This amount (Rs 10 crore) is too much. Please make it Rs five crore,” he said.
While requesting the apex court to reduce the amount to be deposited with the registry, he said, “This is one company which has delivered the projects on time. Thousands of flats were given last year and even this year.”
To this, the bench observed, “Your construction may be complete but there may be violation of rules. That is why these people want to get out of this.” “You first deposit the money then we will see what is needed to be done,” the court said.
The apex court said that first, the principal amount would be given to the investors and then the issue of interest and compensation component would be decided. The apex court had earlier said that if the two 40-storey residential buildings in Noida were constructed without a proper sanction, these would be “demolished”.
The bench is hearing pleas against the Allahabad High Court’s April 11, 2014 verdict ordering demolition of the two 40-storey residential twin towers–Apex and Ceyane–in Noida and directing Supertech to refund money to homebuyers with 14 per cent interest in three months.
The towers have 857 apartments, of which about 600 flats have already been sold.
The counsel appearing for Noida authority had earlier told the bench that the sanctioned plan for the building was in accordance with the guidelines and it was aggrieved by the high court’s finding in this regard.
Earlier, the court had directed Supertech to give back money to flat owners who had sought refund of their investment after the towers were directed to be demolished by the high court.
It had asked National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) to submit its report after inspecting Supertech’s Emerald Towers to ascertain whether the two 40-storey buildings were built in green area in violation of the sanctioned plan.
The NBCC in its report filed in the court had said, “The open space available between the two towers Tower 1 (Aster 2) and Tower 17 is less than 20.45 metres as prescribed in the NBC rules.
“Thus from the above observations and inferences, NBCC concludes the opinion that the two towers, Tower 1 (Aster 2) and Tower 17 is not compliant with the REG 24.2.1(6)of Noida Building Regulations 2010.”