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Supreme Court orders status quo over Supertech towers demolition

Posted on May 05 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, May 5 : The Supreme Court Monday ordered status quo in respect of two 40-floor residential towers of Supertech builders in Greater Noida which were ordered to be demolished by the Allahabad High Court for not complying with building laws.

A bench of Chief Justice R.M. Lodha, Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph also issued notice to all concerned and said the builder and the purchasers of the flats shall not sell, alienate or create third party rights for the buildings.

The buildings in question were constructed by realty majors Supertech Group Limited.

At the beginning of the hearing, the apex court said the high court order directing the total demolition of the two buildings was flawed and wrong.

"The order of total demolition is flawed. High Court is wrong. Question is that whether it (demolition) should be (beyond) ground floor plus nine storeys, ground floor plus 11 storeys, ground floor plus 24 storeys," the bench said.

Chief Justice Lodha inquired if the original sanction was for the ground floor plus nine storeys, and asked how the foundation could withstand the additional 31 storeys.

"When you have sanctioned plans for ground-plus-nine-storey building, how can it bear the load of 40 storeys," the court asked, adding that it was a "layman" question.

Appearing for Supertech, counsel Mukul Rohtagi told the court that when the company laid the foundation, it knew that it will be allowed to increase the floors up to 40.

"When the foundation was laid, we knew what the policy was," the counsel told the court.

Chief Justice Lodha asked: "Can you imagine a builder -- that of a nine-floor building -- laying the foundation of a 40-floor building? How expensive it would be if more floors were not to be allowed?"

He said it defies logic and common sense, and was "a preposterous proposition".

In another poser, Chief Justice Lodha said the court wanted to know when Supertech started, what was the position and how nine floors became 11 and then 24.

The court said that even if one were to take a building comprising ground floor plus 24 storeys, even then it "suffers from legal flaws because of connivance between builder and the (NOIDA) officers".

The apex court said that according to the high court order, both towers have to be demolished, and the cost of towers will have to be borne by the NOIDA authorities.

Pointing to "collusion and conspiracy", the court said the builder built the towers according to the plans sanctioned by the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA).

Counsel Rohtagi said the entire plan was designed in a way that everything can be adjusted and there was realignment of other utilities.

At this, the court asked: "What is the procedure for realignment of the area? Show us from law."

Counsel C.A. Sundaram, appearing for the residents, said what was being told to the court was not a factual position and contested the submission made by Supertech.

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