[Maradu Flat Demolition] SC: Homebuyers who Purchased Flats also Responsible; Not People who Lacked Literacy

Supreme Court Law Insider

Tanisha Rana

Published on: October 19, 2022 at 18:43 IST

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court expressed the opinion that flat buyers in the Maradu municipality which were later demolished for breaking environmental regulations had the same responsibility as developers and authorities.

The purchasers of the apartments were not people who lacked literacy, according to a bench of Justices BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna, who also suggested that they should have given their hard-earned money more thought before they purchased the apartments.

“What is the responsibility of the homebuyers? Can they buy anywhere just because builder is building? We have to balance everyone’s interest, everyone must face the music. These were not rural or illiterate people,”  Justice Nagarathna remarked.

The remarks were made in response to homebuyers’ submissions detailing the challenges they had to encounter when a court ruling forced the destruction of their apartments.

The flats in Kerala’s Maradu Municipality were ordered to be demolished in May 2019 because they were constructed on the notified Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) of the region.

The Supreme Court was now hearing arguments from people who had purchased the flats.

A builder of one of the apartment buildings later filed a review petition in opposition to this judgment, claiming that the verdict was based on the false assumption that the projects were created in areas designated as CRZ III while, in reality, they were built in accordance with CRZ rules.

However, in September 2019, the Kerala government was ordered to pay affected flat owners Rs. 25 lakh as interim compensation. This money was to be recovered from the builders, and the remaining sum was to be distributed to flat owners after evaluation by the Justice TB Radhakrishnan Committee.

Later, the court mandated that the builders give the committee a deposit of Rs. 20 crore.

According to the report of the committee presented before the Supreme Court, panchayat officials had issued the building permits but thereafter neglected to send any sort of stop memo to the builders.

The committee discovered that the officials were also aware of the CRZ classification and that, in accordance with the pertinent notification, the area of the now-demolished structures was within a no development zone.

As a result, the committee determined that not only the builder, but also the State government, the concerned municipality, and panchayat, would be liable.

Senior Advocate V Giri, speaking on behalf of the homebuyers during the matter’s hearing on Tuesday, stated that new development is permitted in the area in accordance with CRZ 2019 norms. He continued by saying that the current legal dispute is one-sided.

For a different group of petitioners, Senior Counsel Meenakshi Arora stated that the homeowners had taken out loans to pay for the purchase and are currently paying them back.

In the second week of November, the matter will be heard again.

Related Post