Kochi: The Supreme Court has dismissed a review petition requesting it to reconsider its earlier order to demolish five apartment complexes in Maradu municipality for violating the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules. A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra observed that the court need not intervene in the matter at the moment.
The court rejected the petition filed by the four builders seeking a re-examination of the matter. The five apartment complexes are the twin buildings of Alfa Ventures, Holy Faith H2O, Golden Kayaloram, Jain Coral Cove and Holiday Heritage. The complexes together have over 350 individual apartments.
The bench while disposing of a petition filed by the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA) on May 8 had ordered the demolition of the buildings on the ground that the builders violated the CRZ rules. The court asked the authorities concerned to demolish the buildings within a month as they were constructed in an area designated under category CRZ3.
Stating that Kerala cannot afford to suffer one more flood similar to the one in 2018, the court observed illegal constructions had exacerbated the situation in the state. The court came down heavily on the builders and the counsel a few days ago for getting a stay on the original order from a vacation bench. Furious over the vacation bench entertaining the petition, Justice Mishra said the petitioners had tried to commit a judicial fraud and castigated the counsel for being a party to the scheme.
The court decision on Thursday has literally dashed the hopes of the apartment owners.
The only option left for them is to file a civil suit in a local court seeking compensation. Since the amount is large, they can unite and move the High Court seeking damages from the civic body and the government for the taxes paid so far and against the builders for failing to inform them about the legal position.
The apex court verdict is also likely to have a cascading impact on the water-front apartments in Kochi as the KCZMA has found violations of CRZ rules by many builders, especially in the Chilavannoor lake region. The state government has already asked the Chennai IIT to prepare a report in the environmental impact of the demolition of the apartment complexes and the steps to be taken for mitigating the same....