SC to hear in open court review pleas of Maradu flat owners for relief from builders

New Delhi, Nov 22 (PTI) The Supreme Court Friday agreed to hear in open court the review pleas of some Maradu flat owners in Kochi seeking appropriate relief from the builders.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said it would hear the review petitions in an open court on the point of appropriate relief from the builders.

The counsel appearing for the Kerala government submitted a status report and said the state had partially complied with the earlier apex court order of demolition of the Maradu flats.

In compliance of the top court's earlier order, the state government has paid 27.99 crore as interim compensation to the Maradu flat owners and it will be paying 33.51 crore more to them, the counsel said.

The court then asked the state government to ensure full compliance with its orders, including demolition of the Maradu flats.

It had on October 25 asked the Kerala government to give Rs 25 lakh each as interim compensation to the owners of Maradu flats, being demolished on the court's orders for violation of environment norms by builders, after it was informed that they have been given a lower amount.

It had directed the builders of Maradu flats to deposit Rs 20 crore within one month with the court-appointed committee in the matter, and said the attached bank account of the builders be detached for depositing the amount.

The court also asked the committee to assess the documentary proof of payments made by flat owners to builders after some homebuyers told the bench that they had paid more than Rs 25 lakh to the developers.

The committee of a retired high court judge will oversee the demolition and to assess total compensation payable to affected flat owners.

The court on September 30 refused to entertain a plea of flat owners seeking stay on its order to demolish the four apartment complexes in Maradu which were built in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone norms.

On September 27, it directed demolition of the flats within 138 days, a timeline given by the Kerala government, and had asked the state to pay Rs 25 lakh interim compensation to each flat owner within four weeks.

It said the government may consider recovering the interim compensation amount, which will be paid to flat owners, from the builders and the promoters.

It clarified that its primary concern was that no construction should have been carried out at the eco-fragile coastal zone and the question was not regarding any individual.

On May 8, the apex court had directed that these buildings be removed within a month as they were constructed in a notified CRZ, which was part of the tidally-influenced water body in Kerala.

It passed the order after taking note of a report of a three-member committee, which had stated that when the buildings were built, the area was already notified as a CRZ and construction was prohibited. PTI MNL ABA LLP SA