Realty firm Supertech Ltd has tried to take advantage of increased Floor Area Ratio (FAR) by constructing two massive towers and encroached upon the green area, flat buyers of Emerald Court project in Noida told the Supreme Court on Thursday. FAR is the ratio of a building's total floor area to the size of the piece of land upon which it is built.
A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah, which commenced final hearing on the appeal of Supertech Ltd against the Allahabad High Court's 2014 order directing demolition of the twin towers, was told by residents' association that even after FAR increases, the builder cannot change the green area.
Senior advocate Jayant Bhushan, appearing for Emerald Court Owner Resident Welfare Association, said that as per the by-laws, the builder cannot change the green area without the consent of flat owners.
Garden area was shown to the flat buyers not only in brochures but also in the completion plan. A 40-storey tower was built in the area which was shown as a garden area in the brochure as well as completion plan, Bhushan said.
He said they are not on the increased FAR and their submission is two-fold -- (Supertech Ltd) has not complied with the mandatory distance criteria between two buildings and the developer cannot change garden area without the consent of flat buyers.
At the outset, senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the realty firm said that they were not supposed to take the consent of over 1,500 home buyers as the RWA came into existence much after the plan was sanctioned.
He said the mandatory 16 metre distance criteria is not for building blocks but for a single separate building and in the present case it is part of the already existing building.
The new construction does not violate any fire safety protocol or any other norms, Singh said.
Advocate Ravindra Kumar, appearing for Noida, whose officials are facing prosecution following the high court order said that all the plans of the housing society including one original and three revised were approved as per the existing laws.
He said there was no wrongdoing of any kind on part of Noida officials.
The hearing remained inconclusive and would continue on August 3.
On July 9, the top court had closed a contempt case against the real estate firm after the company informed that it has refunded the amount to some of the home buyers, who had booked flats in its Emerald court project at Noida in Uttar Pradesh.
The court had noted that Supertech's appeal has been pending since 2014 and fixed the matter for final disposal.
Advocate Gaurav Agrawal, who has been appointed Amicus Curiae in the matter, had said that the only question which remains to be decided is whether the permission granted by NOIDA authority for construction of two towers was legal or not.
The real estate firm had moved the top court challenging the Allahabad High Court order to demolish the company's two 40-storey towers in a Noida housing project.
The two towers, Apex and Ceyane, together have 857 apartments. Of these, about 600 flats have already been sold. The towers are a part of Supertech's Emerald Court project.
The company has claimed that the two towers were constructed as per approved building plans and there was no violation of any kind.
Several home buyers subsequently moved the top court seeking refund of the amount they deposited with the company for their flats or direction for timely completion of their homes by the company.
On April 11, 2014 the Allahabad High Court ordered the demolition of the two buildings and the refund of money to apartment buyers.
The high court judgement was passed while allowing a writ petition of the Emerald Court Owners Resident Welfare Association, which alleged that the approval and construction of the two towers was "in complete violation of the UP Apartment Acts".
The high court had ordered the demolition of the two towers erected in Sector 93-A of Noida as part of the Supertech Emerald Court Complex "within a period of four months." The complex comprises residential premises and shopping establishments.
The court also ordered that money be refunded to all those who had invested in the two towers "with 14 per cent interest compounded annually".The petitioner before the high court claimed that the Noida Authority had given permission to raise the height of the two towers, which were earlier supposed to have only 24 floors, "without maintaining the mandatory distance of 16 metres) from an adjoining building block, making it unsafe, apart from blocking air and light.