25 Nov 2019 3:35 PM GMT
The Supreme Court has directed the four builders of apartments in Maradu, Kochi - which have been ordered to be demolished for CRZ violations - to deposit a sum of Rs 61.50 crores with the Government of Kerala for disbursement of compensation to the owners of flats.A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee passed this order on November 22 based on an affidavit of Chief...
The Supreme Court has directed the four builders of apartments in Maradu, Kochi - which have been ordered to be demolished for CRZ violations - to deposit a sum of Rs 61.50 crores with the Government of Kerala for disbursement of compensation to the owners of flats.
A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee passed this order on November 22 based on an affidavit of Chief Secretary of Kerala Government, which stated that a direction to the builders to deposit a sum of Rs 61.50 crores was necessary for grant of compensation to flat owners.
However, the State Government shall not delay the release of the amount as directed and shall not wait for the amount to be deposited by the builders, added the Court. The Committee has been told to take care of the disbursement of the amount "as expeditiously as possible".
The bench also clarified that the flat owners are at liberty to initiate appropriate legal proceedings for other damages against the builders, regardless of the disbursement of compensation. This was taking note of the submission made by Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave that owners should be permitted to have resort to appropriate legal proceedings against the builders.
"We clarify that our order on disbursement of the compensation shall not come in the way of the flat owners in filing appropriate proceedings, civil or criminal, for redressal of their grievances in accordance with law", the Court said.
Two of the builders - Holy Faith Pvt Ltd and Alfa Ventures - sought permission for disposal of certain properties to raise the amount. The SC however declined to pass any orders in that regard and directed them to make the request before the Committee, which has been constituted by the Court to deal with the issue of compensation.
"Let the prayer be made before the Committee and the Committee would be free to examine whether the properties are required to be auctioned or not and, if it deems fit, it would be free to auction the other properties in accordance with law. In case of any difficulty, let the Committee put up its report to this Court", the Court said.
On September 26, the Court had constituted a Committee headed by retired Kerala HC judge Justice Balakrishnan Nair to deal with the disbursement of compensation to flat owners and related issues. The Court had directed the State Government to pay Rs 25 lakhs as interim compensation to the flat owners., which was stated to be later recoverable from the "builder/promoter/persons/officials responsible for the construction".
On October 25, the apex court had clarified that every flat owner will be entitled to the interim compensation of Rs.25 lakhs, regardless of the amount stated in the sale deeds.
This order was passed after noticing that the Court-appointed committee had directed the disbursal of lesser amounts based on the consideration shown in the sale deeds.
Though the top court observed that this course adopted by the Committee was "proper" , it said that disbursal of Rs 25 lakhs as compensation was appropriate to suitably rehabilitate the owners, taking into account the escalation of value of flats.
The Court had then directed the builders - Alfa Venture (P) Ltd, Holy Faith Builders and Developers (P) Ltd, Jain Housing and Construction Ltd and K P Varkey and Builders -to deposit a provisional amount of Rs 20 crores before the Committee.
The four apartment complexes were ordered to be demolished on May 8 on the basis of findings that they were built in violation of CRZ regulations.
Click here to download order