SC firm on razing Maradu flats

The Supreme Court has rejected a petition filed by a private builder to review its May 8 order to demolish apartment blocks at Maradu in Ernakulam district in Kerala for violating stringent coastal zone regulations.

Deciding in their chambers, a Bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Navin Sinha stood firm by its decision to raze the flats where over 400 families stay.

“Applications for oral hearing/hearing in open court are rejected. Having perused the review petitions and the connected papers with meticulous care, we do not find any justifiable reason to entertain the review petitions. The review petitions are, accordingly, dismissed,” the July 10 order concluded. Recently, Justice Mishra had orally launched a stinging criticism of the residents for approaching another Bench to get a stay on the demolition of their apartments on the sly.

On May 8, the Bench led by Justice Mishra ordered the flats to be demolished within a month. However, on June 10 residents approached another Vacation Bench of the apex court led by Justice Indira Banerjee to get a stay. The residents had complained that they were not heard by Justice Mishra’s Bench before the demolition order was passed.

A livid Justice Mishra had called the act of the residents to pit the order of one Bench against another as an “absolute fraud” committed on the court.

Threatens contempt

The judge had even threatened contempt against the lawyers involved. Finally, the residents had to withdraw their plea. On June 10, the Justice Banerjee-led Bench put on hold the demolition of the buildings for six weeks.

One of the grounds of review filed by Alfa Ventures Pvt. Ltd. was that the SC-appointed three-member committee had not given them a proper hearing. The plea had alleged that the court was misled by the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA) into passing the May 8 decision.

The committee had stated that as per the CRZ notification of 1991 and Kerala Coastal Zone Management Plan 1996, the area in question came under CRZ III. As per the CRZ notification of 1991, no construction was permitted within 200 metres from the coastal line in CRZ III.

The review plea had submitted that the KCZMA hid a vital fact from the apex court – that is, a more recent Coastal Zone Management Plan prepared pursuant to a 2011 CRZ notification was approved by the Ministry of Environment and Forests on February 28, 2019 by which the Maradu area of Ernakulam was categorised under CRZ II.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 11:32:19 AM |

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