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NOIDA/ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad high court on Friday ordered the demolition of two 40-storeyed residential towers of Supertech’s Emerald Court in Noida’s upscale Sector 93A for flouting building norms, a ruling that sent shock waves across the booming real estate market in the National Capital Region.
A division bench of justices V K Shukla and Suneet Kumar ordered the demolition of the towers “within a period of four months” and ordered the builder to refund their money with “14% interest compounded annually”. The court also directed the prosecution of the builder and officials of Noida Authority which allowed the construction.
The two towers — Apex and Ceyane — together have 857 flats whose price ranges from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 1.2 crore. Only 230 flats in the two under-construction towers remain unsold.
The two towers, part of Emerald Court Group Housing Society located near the Noida-Greater Noida expressway, were allegedly being constructed as an extension of a larger 70,000 square metre project costing about Rs 750 crore. The existing project was initiated in 2006, when permission was allegedly granted for 15 towers with just 11 storeys each. In 2009, a revised plan, including Apex and Ceyane, was submitted to the Noida Authority by purchasing additional floor area ratio, and got approved.
The two towers are in an advanced stage of construction. More than 21 floors have been constructed in Apex and 17 in Ceyane. Both towers are to have 14 flats on each floor. Each tower is also proposed to have a penthouse.
When contacted, RK Arora, CMD, Supertech Ltd, said, “We have not yet received the court order…. If we receive it and if it is against us, we will appeal in the Supreme Court. The construction which is going on at the project is legal and is approved from Noida Authority.” Chairman and CEO of Noida Authority, Rama Raman, said he could not comment as he had not seen the court order in detail.
According to the Residents’ Welfare Association of Emerald Court Group Housing Society, the petitioners in the case, the approval and construction of the two towers was in complete violation of provisions of the UP Apartments Act of 2010. “As per the Act, the builder is supposed to acquire no objection certificates from existing buyers before additional construction,” said UBS Teotia, president of the RWA. “We have been running from pillar to post for the last two years and have approached officials of the Noida Authority, but to no avail,” Teotia said. “Finally in December 2012, we approached the judiciary for reprieve,” he added.
The RWA also alleged the builder has constructed shops in the basements of both towers, which are illegal.
The court said, “The respondent company, Supertech Ltd, has pleaded falsely and destroyed facts to non-suit the petitioner and mislead the court. The then official of Noida Authority have not acted bona fide in discharge of their duties, the map has been sanctioned and is being executed in violation of Building Regulations. The officials cannot claim protection under section 50 of the UP Urban Development Act, 1973 as incorporated under section 12 of the 1976 Act.”
“The time has come when everyone should realize that rule of law is not a purchasable commodity and illegalities will not be tolerated merely because the builder has taken protection against the sanction which admittedly is illegal and in violation of building regulations and the Act,” the judges said.
Welcoming the order, RWA members said that violation of Building Regulations by Noida Authority, in collusion with the builder, in sanctioning the map, had not only adversely affected the rights of the apartment owners but also compromised their safety. “The builder’s high-handedness has cost us dear,” said YPS Suri, one of the flat owners.
Devastated home buyers of the project said all they wanted was to have a shelter of their own. “We have put in our hard-earned money and did not expect to be treated so shabbily by a reputed builder like Supertech,” said VK Arora, a home buyer of the project. “I am shocked that the towers will be demolished,” said another buyer on condition of anonymity.
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