SC clears hurdle for refund to Supertech twin tower homebuyers in Noida
The court said, “We direct the Union Bank to take steps within 10 days to ensure an amount of ₹15,51,678 is released to Supertech for compliance with our order of July 17”
The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Union Bank to release an amount of over ₹15 lakh, part of the ₹1.25 crore refund to 15 homebuyers of the now-demolished Supertech’s twin towers in Noida.
The amount was directed to be released within 10 days to the real estate firm facing bankruptcy proceedings.
The order became necessary after the Court on July 17 directed the interim resolution professional (IRP) of Supertech to deposit the amount with the Supreme Court Registry by August 31 to enable payments to be made to concerned homebuyers.
The IRP failed to deposit the entire amount as Union Bank refused to pay its share of ₹15,51,678. The bank wrote to IRP on September 1 claiming that the amount cannot be paid as the twin towers – Apex and Ceyane -- are part of Supertech’s Emerald Court project which is not part of the insolvency proceedings.
Further, the bank claimed that it is not party to the proceeding in which the order was passed and told the IRP that he is duty-bound to protect the interest of not only the homebuyers but financial creditors as well.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud said, “We direct the Union Bank to take steps within 10 days to ensure an amount of ₹15,51,678 is released to Supertech for compliance with our order of July 17”.
Advocate Gaurav Agarwal assisting the Court as amicus curiae brought this fact to the notice of the Court in an application attaching the bank’s letter and a communication received from IRP on September 7 indicating this position.
The 15 homebuyers had a total outstanding amount of ₹7.04 crore of which a balance of ₹2.55 crore was due and payable. The Court’s earlier order had required this amount to be paid in two tranches. The Court further directed that the initial deposit of ₹1.25 crore is to be made out of the 30% amount earmarked for meeting the administrative expenses of Supertech.
With Wednesday’s order, the IRP will be able to make the complete payment as he had already deposited an amount of over ₹1.10 crore with the Court.
The Court has now posted the matter for hearing on November 3 to follow up on the remaining payout of the refund amount.
It was on August 31, 2021, the Court ordered the 32-storey towers to be demolished for alleged violations of the National Building Code. The Court further directed the affected homebuyers to receive full refund with 12% interest. In March last year, the Union Bank had approached the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to declare Supertech bankrupt under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) over unpaid dues.
The IRP was appointed to look after the affairs of the company and all expenses of the company were to be routed through IRP with approval of the company law appellate tribunal.
Initially, out of 252 flat owners in the two towers,around 56 homebuyers were yet to get the refund. The Court was informed that for settling refund claims in full, Supertech would have to set apart almost ₹40 crore.
The Court has been monitoring the matter since to ensure all homebuyers get full refund of their invested amounts regardless of the insolvency proceedings pending against the company.
The Allahabad high court in 2014 held the massive structures to be illegally constructed after a petition was filed by the residents staying in the Supertech’s Emerald Court housing society. This decision got the imprimatur of the Supreme Court in 2021 and the towers were razed in August last year.