SC to hear Maradu flat owners' plea in open court


New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS): The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear pleas of some Maradu flat owners, in an open court, in Kochi seeking suitable relief from the builders of the housing complex.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said the court will hear the review petitions in an open court on the point of relief for the flat owners. The Kerala government counsel placed a status report before the court and contended the authorities have partially complied with the apex court order on demolition of the posh Maradu flats in Kochi.

The government counsel contended the authorities have also complied with compensation order of the top court and informed the court that it had paid Rs 27.99 crore as interim compensation to flat owners and additional Rs 33.51 crore will also be paid soon.

The court reiterated the state government to completely comply with its order, which includes demolition.

On the October 25 hearing, the apex court had said it will not retract from its order on the demolition of the Maradu flats in Kochi on the Kerala coast. The top court had rejected the prayer of builders' association Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI), which urged the court to reconsider its order on the Maradu flats. The association had recommended putting the flats to some other use instead of demolition.

"We are not going back from our demolition order. Our order is final," the court said, rejecting CREDAI's plea.

"An order is an order, and it has to be complied with," the court said, citing instances of hundreds of deaths caused by floods.

"People are dying in floods and due to other natural calamities. Who is responsible? Builders or authorities, who let this (illegal construction) happen. Therefore, we must fix the responsibility," said the court.

The observation was made in the context of illegal construction in the coastal area, which doubles the impact of environmental calamities.

The court also asked the Kerala government to give Rs 25 lakh interim compensation each to all the Maradu flat owners, after it was revealed that they had received less amounts on this account.

Some flat owners recommended that a court-appointed committee process the compensation as per the sale deed of the flats. These flat owners cited the increase in value of the flats and, therefore, sought appropriate compensation.

The court asked the Maradu flat builders to deposit Rs 20 crore within a month with the court-appointed committee. The court also directed the unblocking of the bank accounts of the builders, which were attached earlier, for depositing Rs 20 crore with the court appointed committee for disbursal among the 350 flat owners.

The court asked the builders to submit their banking details in an affidavit. The court also asked the one-member committee to examine the documents connected with payments made to the builders by the homebuyers in lieu of flats.

The Kerala government told the court that they had disbursed Rs 10 crore as interim compensation to the flat owners.

On September 30, the apex court had dismissed the flat owners' plea seeking stay on its demolition order of the four apartment complexes in Maradu, built in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone norms.

The court ordered demolition within 138 days and asked the state to pay Rs 25 lakh interim compensation to each flat owner within four weeks.

  

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