Maradu flats case: Fresh plea in SC challenging verdict

The court had on September 30 refused to entertain a plea of flat owners seeking a stay on its order to demolish the four apartment complexes in Maradu which were built in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone norms. Photo/PTI

A fresh plea has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging its verdict directing demolition of four apartment complexes in Kochi's Maradu for violation of environment norms by the builders.

The aggrieved residents of Golden Kayaloram Apartment, one of the four complexes to be razed down in a month, have petitioned the apex court claiming that a "fraud" was played upon the court and that it was misled on the project as an impermissible construction.

The residents have claimed in their plea that Golden Kayaloram Apartment was never show-caused by the Kerala government for Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) violations, but for building bye-law violations and hence its case was different from the three other complexes.

The plea has stated that they got no opportunity to raise errors in the inquiry committee findings that were the basis for the top court's demolition order, and have requested for an open court hearing on the issue.

"The facts in this petition establish illegality and a serious instance of fraud in the report filed by the Enquiry Committee before the court. This has resulted in the abuse of the process of the court and gross miscarriage of justice," the plea said.

"A direction to remove the constructions which were made investing large amounts of money and efforts and when there are 40 families living on the same, is against public interest and public policy, especially when the building is now within the permissible area. It is also a national waste especially because now the building can be constructed once again in the same place legally," it said.

The court had on October 25 asked the Kerala government to give Rs 25 lakh each as interim compensation to the owners of Maradu flats, after it was informed that they have been given a lower amount and had asked the builders to deposit Rs 20 crore within one month with the court-appointed committee in the matter.

The court had on September 30 refused to entertain a plea of flat owners seeking a stay on its order to demolish the four apartment complexes in Maradu which were built in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone norms.

The apex court had directed the demolition of the flats within 138 days, a timeline was given by the Kerala government, and had asked the state to pay Rs 25 lakh interim compensation to each flat owner within four weeks.

It had said the government may consider recovering the interim compensation amount, which will be paid to flat owners, from the builders and the promoters.

The court had earlier ordered setting up of a one-member committee of a retired high court judge to oversee the demolition and to assess total compensation payable to affected flat owners.

Besides, it directed freezing of assets of builders and promoters who were involved in the construction of illegal buildings in the coastal zone areas of Kochi.

The court had clarified that its primary concern was that no construction should have been carried out at the eco-fragile coastal zone and the question was not regarding any individual.

The state government had submitted a plan under which in 138 days the structure would be demolished -- including 90 days for demolition and 38 days for removing of debris.

The court had passed the order after taking note of a report of a three-member committee, which said when the buildings were built, the area was already notified as a CRZ and construction was prohibited.

Earlier, the court had rejected a plea filed by the residents of the area against the demolition order and taken a strong exception to an order passed by a vacation bench during the summer break of the apex court, which had stayed the demolition of these buildings for six weeks. chambers by the Supreme Court without an open court hearing to the residents.

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