SC stalls demolition of Supertech's Noida towers

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: May 6 2014, 11:29am hrs
The Supreme Court on Monday stalled the imminent demolition of the Supertechs two under-construction 40-storey towers in Emerald Court Complex in Noida, while making it clear that the municipal authority would have to pay a hefty price if it was found to be colluding with the developer to approve an otherwise illegal plan.

Admitting a batch of petitions filed by Supertech, Noida Authority and home buyers, a bench led by Chief Justice R M Lodha ordered status quo on the two towers, which have been sealed by the Authority. The Authority had sealed these towers Apex and Ceyane, to comply with the Allahabad High Court order to demolish them.

The bench said the status quo shall operate against the towers in all respect. It restrained Supertech from alienating or creating third party rights in the property henceforth, even as the builder conceded that it was not going to construct any further and wanted a stay on the demolition till the issue is finally decided by the SC.

The court directed the Authority to place pertinent regulations on record to explain how Supertech had been allowed to carry out additional construction by reportedly compromising with the facility and the green areas, which had already been demarcated in the initial sanctioned plan.

If the order of the High Court is correct and the two towers have to be demolished, then money must be paid to flat owners by the Authority as it colluded and participated in giving sanctions for them. You must bear the consequences, the bench said.

It also questioned as to how Supertech went on to build 40 storeys on a building which had a foundation for only 9-10 storeys.

You are putting lives of thousands of people at risk. Merely because you succeeded in purchasing the additional FAR from the Authority, can you go on adding floors after floors without maintaining the other norms of safety it questioned the developer.

The bench said it would first want to ascertain if it was permissible for a builder to take up the entire facility and the green area only by virtue of purchasing additional FAR. We have not studied civil engineering but common sense says it cannot be done so simply. You cannot shift the area which is already earmarked as a green area..., it said.

Directing the Authority to bring on record all the regulations regarding the re-alignment of earmarked areas after purchase of additional FAR, the court said the issue was very serious and also frightening to some extent.

However, it noted that the HC order was wrong in ordering the demolition of the entire structure since the two towers had been sanctioned in the initial plans.

The court also questioned the 9 metre-distance between the two towers, asking if it was in compliance with the fire code. The counsel for the builder and the purchasers said it was in accordance with the norms. The counsel also cited the Supreme Court Bar Association residential complex site plan in Noida, where the gap between two towers is only 6.15 metres.