Holding that flat owners cannot be forced to remain in limbo and to wait indefinitely due to litigation, a bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha also directed the company to pay compound interest at the rate of 14 per cent per annum to allottees by the end of October.
It turned down the plea of Supertech which contended that it is not in a position to pay back the money as the interest part has grown more than the principal. The flats are at the outskirts of the national capital and its price ranges from 65-90 lakhs.
"They can't wait indefinitely. They are entitled for their money. It is their hard earned money. They cannot keep moving courts in the ongoing litigation," the bench said setting the deadline for the company to refund principle amount by end of August.
There are around 53 allottees out of around 600 who had sought refund of their amount after HC order. The towers, Apex and Ceyane, have 857 apartments in total out of which about 600 flats have already been sold.
"It is your obligation to give flats with clear title but the High Court directed you to demolish the buildings. They cannot remain in limbo. They cannot remain out of shelter. You cannot say no. Shelter is their ultimate ambition in life," it said, adding, "They have not purchased litigation but flats. So you refund the money. Everything can't be allowed to be flouted."
"You put yourself in the shoes of allottees.... It is a matter of survival for them," said the bench which also asked the company to provide alternate flats to those allottees who do not want refund of their money.
"Their ambition has collapsed but you should not collapse. So you pay the principle amount now and we will give you time to pay the interest," it said while granting two more months to the company to pay interest.
The apex court had on May 5 agreed to examine the appeal of the firm, ordered "status quo" and sealing of the towers which were allegedly illegally constructed.
On April 11, the Allahabad High Court had ordered demolition of the two towers and directed the company to refund money to the home buyers.
The HC order came on a petition of the Emerald Court Owner Resident Welfare Association, which had alleged that the approval and construction of the two towers was "in complete violation of the Uttar Pradesh Apartment (Promotion of Construction, Ownership and Maintenance) Act".
The association has also claimed the authority had given permission to raise the height of the two towers, which was earlier supposed to have only 24 floors each, "without maintaining the mandatory distance of 16 metres from an adjoining building block," making it "unsafe, apart from blocking air and light".
Besides the Chief Justice, the apex court bench hearing the case had justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman.