The Supreme Court, on Friday, agreed to hear together all Appeals concerning the Kerala High Court judgment that had allowed DLF to deposit Rs. 1 crore to regularize illegal construction undertaken in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms.
The Bench comprising Justice Kaul and Justice Nariman agreed to hear together separate SLPs filed by Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority (KSCZMA), DLF, PIL Petitioner Anthony and State of Kerala. The matters have been listed for final hearing after 4 weeks on a Tuesday.
The High Court had opined that demolition of the structure at this stage will be more detrimental than causing it to be retained. It had then ordered payment of Rs. 1 crore as penalty, which was “to be used exclusively for building up the environment and to maintain ecological balance in the area situated on the eastern side of the Chilavannur river”.
The Court had further observed that the construction is not in CRZ-I area (where construction is prohibited), but in CRZ-II area (where construction is possible, but to be regularized). “This is more so, since only a portion of the entire property is coming under CRZ – II area and with regard to the other portion, the CRZ notification is having no application, but for the applicability of EIA clearance,” the Bench observed.
The Petition filed by KSCZMA now contends that in the context of ‘regularization’ of unauthorized constructions, particularly those violating the laws and norms set up for protecting the environment around the coastal areas like the Coastal Regulation Zone [CRZ] Notifications, as in the present case, the Supreme Court has taken an unequivocal and clear stand against erring real estate promoters and builders, who endanger the fragile coastal ecosystems in our country.
“The Supreme Court while dealing with cases involving infractions of the CRZ Notification has been always clear, firm and consistent. A strong message has been sent in various judgments of the Supreme Court across the country, be it in the naturally endowed state of Goa or in the pristine waters of Lakshwadeep that such violations and deviations will be dealt with an absolute zero-tolerance and that the offending constructions and deviations have to be entirely demolished whatever be the stage of construction,” it contends.
KSCZMA, therefore, avers that such lapses should not be allowed by the Courts to be regularized and condoned by payment of monetary fine, as has been done in the case at hand.
KCZMA was represented by Shyam Divan, Dhruv Mehta, Vipin Nair and PB Suresh. DLF and Flat buyers were represented by Kapil Sibal and Krishana Venugopal