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Why the Noida Supertech twin towers were razed

Noida Twin Tower Demolition: Taller than Qutub Minar, Apex and Ceyane towers are the outcome of collusion, corruption and violations at every step of the way and a rare victory for the beleaguered homebuyer

August 29, 2022 / 08:26 AM IST

Homes will be vacated, traffic will come to a standstill, air space blocked for some time and no drones will fly when the Supertech's twin towers will be razed in Noida on August 28 afternoon on the orders of the Supreme Court of India.

The Apex and Ceyane towers in Emerald Court in Noida’s Sector 93A will be the highest buildings to be demolished in India, a little over a year after the country’s top court ordered them razed for illegal construction.

On August 31, 2021, the Supreme Court said the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA) and the builder colluded to build the towers illegally and without the consent of flat owners, as required by the Uttar Pradesh Apartment Act.

Twin towers graphic

​Skyscrapers in the garden

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The guidelines regulating the minimum distance between two towers were also violated, the court said. The two apartment blocks came up on the green space that was promised to the homebuyers of Emerald Court, which has several residential towers.

The Supreme Court upheld a 2014 verdict of the Allahabad High Court that directed the demolition after four Emerald Court homebuyers, all senior citizens, took the builder to court in 2009.

The consent of individual flat owners was necessary as the common area was reduced by adding new flats, the court said.

The addition of the two towers “necessarily reduced the undivided interest of the individual flat owners in the common area by adding new flats and increasing the number from 650 to 1,500”.

The two towers house 915 flats and shops.

The first revised plan, dated December 2006, had a provision for a garden area adjacent to the first tower (T-1).

“In the second revised plan of 26 November 2009, the provision for the garden area was obliterated to make way for the construction of Apex and Ceyane,” the court said.

The common garden area in front of T-1 was eliminated with the construction of Apex and Ceyane towers—referred to as T-16 and T-17 in the court proceedings—which violated the UP apartments act 2010 as it was the plan was modified without the consent of the homebuyers.

Collusion between builders and planners

“The illegal construction of T-16 and T-17 has been achieved through acts of collusion between the officers of Noida and the appellant and its management,” the order said.

Flat buyers suffered due to the nexus between builders and planners. “Their quality of life is affected the most. Yet, confronted with the economic might of developers and the might of legal authority wielded by planning bodies, the few who raise their voices have to pursue a long and expensive battle for rights with little certainty of outcomes,” the court said

The case demonstrated that the petitioners were denied access to information and were victims of misinformation. “Hence, the law must step in to protect their legitimate concerns,” the order had said.

The sanction given by Noida authorities in November 2009 to the twin towers violated the minimum distance requirements and the national building code, the court said.

Supertech filed a review petition against the order on August 31, 2021, but the Supreme Court dismissed it on October 4, clearing the way for the demolition of the twin towers.

The top court on August 31, 2021, also said that homebuyers be refunded the whole amount paid to the builder along with 12 percent annual interest to be calculated from the time of the booking.

The Emerald Court resident welfare association would be paid Rs 2 crore for the harassment caused due to the construction of the twin towers that blocked sunlight and fresh air.

On August 26, 2022, the court assured homebuyers of a full refund of the amount deposited with the builder. It also asked the Interim Resolution Professional (IRP) of Supertech, facing insolvency proceedings, to deposit Rs 1 crore with the court registry.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, AS Bopanna and JB Pardiwala reassured buyers that they would get their money back but for the time, they will be paid from Rs 1 crore to be deposited by IRP by September 30.

The bench was hearing a bunch of contempt petitions filed by homebuyers seeking a refund.
Vandana Ramnani
first published: Aug 28, 2022 07:42 am
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