Supreme Court dismisses Supertech’s plea seeking modification of order to raze twin towers

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to modify its directive to demolish the twin 40-story towers in Noida for violation of norms and dismissed an application of Supertech Ltd seeking to save one tower and partially demolish 224 units in the other to conform with building by-laws.

The top court said that a grant of such relief is akin to reviewing the judgements of this court and such an attempt is impermissible in a miscellaneous application filed by the realty firm.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna said that the judgement of this court dated August 31, has specifically affirmed the direction issued by the division bench of Allahabad High Court for demolition of T-16 and T-17 of the Emerald Court Project which is evident from the ultimate conclusions contained in the judgement.

“In essence, what the applicant seeks is that the direction for demolition of T-16 and T-17 should be substituted by retention of T-16 in its entirety and slicing off a portion of T-17. Clearly, the grant of such relief is in the nature of a review of the judgement of this court,” the bench said in its order.

The top court said that in successive decisions, this court has held that the filing of an application styled as ‘Miscellaneous Application’ or application for clarification in the guise for review cannot be countenanced.

“The attempt in the Miscellaneous Application is clearly to seek a substantive modification of the judgement of this court. Such an attempt is not permissible in Miscellaneous Application”, the bench said, adding “For the above reason, there is no substance in the Miscellaneous Application. The Miscellaneous Application is accordingly dismissed”.

During the hearing, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Supertech Ltd said that in the application, the realty firm does not seek a review of the judgement of this court and only modification and clarification.

He said that the basis of the judgement of this court directing razing of the twin towers in three months is the minimum distance required under the building regulations has not been complied with and violation of the green area.

Rohatgi said that the realty firm seeks to meet the ground set out in the judgement of this court by slicing a portion of T-17 while retaining T-16, so as to ensure compliance with the minimum distance requirement and the green area. He proposed that if the court directs then the company’s proposal can be examined by the planning authority (NOIDA).

Senior advocate Jayant Bhushan, appearing for Residents Welfare Association of the Group Housing Society, raised the preliminary objection to the maintainability of the miscellaneous application and relief on several verdicts of the top court.

He said that miscellaneous application of Supertech Ltd proceeds on the basis of the misconceived notion that only two objections were noticed in the judgement of this court on the aspect of the legality of the two towers.

Bhushan said that besides the minimum distance criteria and violation of green area, there were other violations pointed out by the court like no consent of residents was taken, reduction of the undivided interest of flat purchasers in common areas.

“By partially demolishing the structure they are encroaching upon the common areas of the residents. This should not be allowed and the miscellaneous application is actually seeking a review of the August 31 verdict”, he said.

In its application, Supertech Ltd has said that due to the proximity of Tower-17 (Ceyane) with the other residential towers in its Emerald Court project, it cannot demolish the building by blowing through explosives and it would have to be done brick by brick.

“The underlying basis of the proposed modifications is that if the same is allowed, it would save crores of resources from going to waste inasmuch as the applicant has already put materials worth crores of rupees in the construction of the Towers T-16 (Apex) and T-17 (Ceyane),” the company has said.

The firm sought modification of directions given on August 31 by the top court in its verdict for part demolition of Tower-17 and a status quo with respect to twin towers at Emerald Court project in sector 93A of Noida, Uttar Pradesh, till final orders are passed on its application.

On August 31, the top court had ordered the demolition of Supertech Ltd’s twin 40-story towers under construction within three months for violation of building norms in “collusion” with NOIDA officials, holding that illegal construction has to be dealt with strictly to ensure compliance with the rule of law.

The Noida authority had received a rap on its knuckles as the top court pointed out multiple incidents of collusion of its officials with the Supertech Ltd in the Emerald Court project and violations of norms by the realty major in the construction of the twin towers.

The top court had noted that the two towers together have 915 apartments and 21 shops.

According to Supertech data given to the court earlier, of the 633 people who booked the flats initially, 133 have moved out to other projects, 248 have taken refunds and 252 home buyers still have bookings with the company in the project.

Source: Press Trust of India