SC orders demolition of 40-floor Emerald Court in Noida

Law must step in against unholy nexus of developers with authorities: SC orders demolition of Noida building

The top court directed that demolition should be carried out within three months at the cost of the developer

Representative Image. Credit: iStock Photo

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said illegal constructions carried out in urban areas in connivance with regulatory authorities have to be dealt with strictly as it increased harm caused to the environment and diluted safety standards, besides affecting quality of life of flat buyers.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah pointed out to the rampant increase in unauthorised constructions across urban areas, particularly in metropolitan cities where soaring values of land placed a premium on dubious dealings as noticed in several decisions of the top court. 

"This state of affairs has often come to pass in no small a measure because of the collusion between developers and planning authorities," the bench said.

The top court said brazen violation of building regulations by developers, more often than not with the connivance of regulatory authorities, hit at the very core of urban planning.

In its 140-page judgement, the court ordered the demolition of two 40-storey towers built by real estate developer Supertech in Noida of Uttar Pradesh, after finding "nefarious complicity of the planning authority in the violation by the developer of the provisions of law", particularly those related to minimum distance in two buildings stipulated to ensure privacy, fire safety, sufficient air and light to the occupants. 

The court confirmed the April 11, 2014 directions of the Allahabad High Court, including the order of demolition and for sanctioning prosecution against the officials of Supertech and the officers of NOIDA. It also directed refund of money with interest to buyers.

Maintaining that availability of housing stock, especially in metropolitan cities, is necessary to accommodate the constant influx of people, the court said, it has to be balanced with two crucial factors, the protection of the environment and the well-being and safety of occupants.

The law must step in to protect legitimate concerns of the diverse and unseen group of flat buyers who unfortunately suffered the impact of the unholy nexus between builders and planners, it added. 

"Confronted with the economic might of developers and the legal authority wielded by planning bodies, the few who raise their voices have to pursue a long and expensive battle for rights with little certainty of outcomes. As this case demonstrates, they are denied access to information and are victims of misinformation," the bench said.

The court pointed out that the developer in the case raised "false pleas and attempted to mislead" by "stooping to the point of producing a fabricated sanctioned plan", while the officials of NOIDA have not acted bona fide in the discharge of their duties.

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