The Supreme Court Monday directed that the demolition of the 40-storey twin towers built by real-estate major Supertech Ltd in violation of norms at its Emerald Court project in Noida (New Okhla Industrial Development Authority) start within two weeks.
“The CEO Noida shall take all necessary steps for observing directions of this court. Work of demolition shall commence no later than two weeks from this order,” a bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant said and asked the CEO to convene a meeting with all agencies concerned with the demolition including the Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) within 72 hours so as to finalise the dates and schedule for it.
Supertech’s counsel informed the court during the hearing that an email was received from the Noida authority on February 5 intimating that necessary clearances for the demolition have been received. The counsel also told the court a cheque for the amount of Rs 70 lakh has been forwarded to the agency earmarked for carrying out the work.
“The CEO Noida shall take all necessary steps for observing the directions of this court and the work of demolition shall commence no later than within a period of two weeks from the date of this order”, the bench directed.
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On August 31, 2021, the SC had upheld an Allahabad High Court ruling asking the builder group to demolish the twin towers, and sanctioning prosecution of the officials. The SC found the towers flouted regulations regarding distance to be maintained between buildings, fire safety regulations and were constructed “through acts of collusion between officers of NOIDA… and the” group. It also gave the go-ahead for prosecuting officials of both for violation of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Area Development Act, 1976 and Uttar Pradesh Apartments Act, 2010.
The SC pointed out that the purpose of the regulations is to ensure the protection of the environment and well-being and safety of those who occupy these constructions and “when these regulations are brazenly violated by developers, more often than not with the connivance of regulatory authorities, it strikes at the very core of urban planning, thereby directly resulting in an increased harm to the environment and a dilution of safety standards”. Therefore, it added, “illegal construction has to be dealt with strictly to ensure compliance with the rule of law”.
Subsequently, on January 12, the top court pulled up the group for not complying with its order to demolish the towers and warned its directors that they will be sent to jail for “playing truant with the court”. On February 4, it also directed that refunds, as computed by the Amicus Curiae, shall be paid to home buyers on or before February 28.
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