SC orders status quo on NGT ruling on Godrej project

No demolition of Godrej’s luxury project for now; SC orders status quo on NGT ruling

The apex court had earlier set aside the NGT order quashing the environmental clearance granted to the project

The site of the Godrej Reflections project near Kaikondrahalli Lake, Southeast Bengaluru. Credit: DH file photo

The Supreme Court has ordered status quo on a National Green Tribunal order that quashed the environmental clearance granted to a high-rise luxury project by Godrej Properties Limited and Wonder Projects Development Private Limited in Bengaluru and ordered its immediate demolition. 

A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice Surya Kant issued notices to the Centre, Karnataka, the Bangalore Development Authority, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and others, and sought their response in four weeks. 

“In the meantime, status quo, as it exists today, shall be maintained by the parties,” the bench said. 

The direction came on an appeal filed by Godrej Properties Limited and Wonder Projects Development Private Limited challenging the NGT’s July 30, 2021, order on the Godrej Reflections project. 

The green panel had also imposed a penalty of Rs 31 crore on the project proponent and said the amount shall be used for demolition of the construction, restoration of the area to the original position, rejuvenation and reforestation of Kaikondarahalli Lake and its surrounding area. 

The NGT had also imposed a cost of Rs 10 lakh on the BBMP, which illegally allowed construction/alteration of a stormwater drain passing through the project site at Kasavanahalli village in Varthur hobli, Southeast Bengaluru. 

The order had come on a petition filed by Bengaluru resident H P Rajanna against the project.

It was the second time NGT had quashed the environmental clearance. 

The apex court had earlier set aside the NGT order quashing the environmental clearance granted to the project. 

Noting that the construction raised by project proponents commenced even before the grant of Consent to Establish by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and in violation of conditions of the environmental clearance, the NGT had directed that the constructions made on site shall be demolished immediately. 

“We impose compensation for damage to the environment as 10% of the cost of the project. The cost of the project mentioned in the application submitted for grant of EC was Rs 310 crores, hence project proponent is directed to pay Rs 31 crore,” the green panel had said. 

The top court had asked the NGT to reconsider the matter and said no construction shall be put up in the meanwhile. 

The green panel had ruled that the construction would fall within the buffer zone of Kaikondrahalli Lake and is therefore violative of zoning rules. 

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