The Supreme Court on Monday directed real estate major Supertech Ltd to execute a contract within a week with a company to demolish its twin 40-storey towers in its Emerald Court project in Noida.
The NOIDA authority informed the bench that it has finalised the company Edifice Engineering for demolishing the twin towers in consultation with the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) Roorkee.
The top court also directed Supertech Ltd to make the refund payments to the home buyers without prejudice to their rights and contentions.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant told senior advocate Parag Tripathi, appearing for Supertech Ltd., “The contract (with a demolishing agency) shall be executed no later within a period of one week from today”.
The bench noted in its order, “Advocate Ravindra Kumar, appearing on behalf of Noida states that the agency which is to carry out the work of demolition has been finalised in consultation with CBRI. Parag Tripathi, senior counsel, appearing on behalf of Supertech Ltd. states that there are no objections to the agency, which has been finalised and the developer would be applying for all necessary NOCs within a period of one week. The application for NOCs shall also be marked to NOIDA authorities”.
The top court refused to give more time to Supertech Ltd for entering into a contract with Edifice despite the repeated insistence of Tripathi saying that the No Objection Certificates (NOCs) can be obtained subsequently.
Tripathi submitted that the court can give one week for applying for NOC and Supertech will enter into the contract within two weeks.
“I have already placed EOI which has terms of the contract. I just need the NOC, which the agency wants. It is the agency which has said that you please get the NOC. I have no difficulty in entering into contract”, he said.
The bench said, “No, you don’t need two weeks to enter into a contract. You apply for the NOCs in the week thereafter. All authorities will grant you NOCs, it’s a direct order from the Supreme Court. We will list it after two weeks for compliance”.
At the outset, advocate Ravindra Kumar, appearing for Noida told the bench that subsequent to the last hearing, it has finalised an agency which is Edifice Engineering.
“The CBRI has informed us and thereafter we wrote a letter to Supertech Ltd to finalise it. Now, Supertech has been informed by CBRI on January 14”, it said.
Tripathi submitted, “We have finalised the agency and placed the Expression of Interest (EOI) but there are certain NOCs which are required and we are applying for it with a copy to NOIDA authority. Because it is possible that their intervention will be needed for instance for storing of explosives etc. so we will be applying for it with a copy to NOIDA authority and to the concerned state authority”.
Kumar said that the difficulty is that they have to sign a contract with the company (Edifice) because the time period will come into play, which will commence from the date of the contract.
Tripathi intervened and said that as far as the contract is concerned, the agency says that as soon as there are NOCs, they will do it, and hence Supertech is applying for NOCs.
Senior advocate S Ganesh, also appearing for Supertech said that they have sent the details of making the refund to the amicus curiae Gaurav Agarwal but he said that there is some difference in the calculations.
One of the counsel, appearing for home buyers, said that the court may permit them to take the amount, which the developer is giving without prejudice to the claimed amount. Ganesh said that he has no problem with that and sought bank details saying the company will make the remittance by Tuesday morning.
The bench agreed that it should be without prejudice as the home buyers who are asking for larger amounts should not be kept out of all money, whatsoever.
It ordered, “That the admitted amounts which are due and payable according to Supertech will be encashed by the flat buyers without prejudice to their rights and contentions in the contempt proceedings. The flat buyers may provide the RTGS details so as to facilitate the electronic transfer of funds”.
On January 12, the top court pulled up the builder for not complying with its orders to demolish the twin 40-story towers in sector 93 of Noida and warned that “its directors will be sent to jail for playing truant with the court”.
It had also taken note of the deduction in payments to be made to the homebuyers as directed by it last year and asked the realty firm to put its “house in order” or “face serious consequences”.
On August 31 last year, the top court had ordered the demolition of Supertech Ltd’s twin 40-storey towers under construction within three months for violation of building norms in “collusion” with NOIDA officials, holding that illegal construction has to be dealt with strictly to ensure compliance with the rule of law.
The top court had directed that the entire amount of home buyers be refunded with 12 per cent interest from the time of the booking and the RWA of Emerald Court project be paid Rs 2 crore for the harassment caused due to the construction of the twin towers, which would have blocked sunlight and fresh air to the existing residents of the housing project adjoining the national capital.