SC directs NBCC to verify ‘distance between buildings’ in Supertech project
The Supreme Court today directed NBCC (India) Ltd to verify if NCR developer Supertech has complied with the safety norms in its 40-storey twin towers project Emerald Court located in Noidareal estate Updated: Jul 27, 2016 18:02 IST
The Supreme Court today directed National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) to verify if NCR developer Supertech has complied with the safety norms in its 40-storey twin towers project Emerald Court located in Noida and if the two towers are located at a safe distance.
The apex court has asked NBCC to prepare a verification report in four weeks and the next hearing in the matter will be held on September 6.
It also asked the developer to refund the money to buyers who are not interested in owning the flat in the project.
Earlier this month, SC had asked Supertech to deposit Rs 5 crore by July 25 as part of refund to people who had bought apartments in the twin towers of Emerald Court in Noida – Apex and Ceyane. The two 40-floor towers have 857 apartments, out of which 600 have been sold. Supertech informed the apex court that the firm has deposited Rs 5 crore with the registry.
In 2014, the Allahabad high court had ordered demolition of the project after it found that fire safety norms had not been followed. Subsequently, the apex court stayed the demolition.
Commenting on the apex court’s direction to NBCC (India) Ltd, Mohit Arora, director, Supertech Group, says that this is a “positive direction and shows that we were able to convince the court that the twin towers - Apex and Ceyane towers – the two towers in the Emerald Court project have been constructed as per the National Building Code of India for which it has appointed a third party .”
NBCC chairman and managing director Dr Anoop Kumar Mittal told HT Estates that NBCC has the competency to carry out the safety analysis and will obey the directions of the court and submit its report before the due date.
About 250 people have bought the Rs 1 crore-plus apartments in Noida’s Sector 93A. A writ petition of Emerald Court Owner Resident Welfare Association was heard by the Allahabad High Court (HC) in 2014 in which they had alleged that the approval and construction of the two towers was “in complete violation of UP Apartment Act, 2010.” The association had also challenged the reviewed plan for the construction of both towers in violation of Noida Building Regulation and Directions, 2010.
It was claimed in the petition that the Noida Authority had given permission for increasing 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”. Through the sanction order of February 2, 2012, the height of the towers had been raised from 66 metre to 121 metre.
Holding both Supertech and Noida Authority responsible for overlooking the fire safety norms, the HC had said in its 2014 judgment that , “It is clear that both the respondents (Noida Authority and Supertech) are bound to comply with the provisions of the Fire Safety Act, 2005, and the rules framed thereunder, which was enforced way back in the year 2005. The distance between building blocks as well as clear space of 7.5 metres for fire tenders is mandatory, which admittedly has been violated while sanctioning the map in the year 2012. The respondent company was put to notice under the Act for violation of distance and space.”
The developer has all along maintained that the distance between the two towers is as per the National Building Code, the minimum requirement of distance between two buildings is 9 metre for buildings as high as 36 metre or more, which Supertech had complied with in the case of Apex and Ceyane.
Supreme Court lawyer S K Pal says that while hearing the case in 2014, the HC had not appointed any expert committee and decided the case on the basis of documents available. Considering the costs involved (of around Rs 400 crore), the Supreme Court could have decided to ascertain first if the building byelaws have been violated before passing any judgment, Pal opined.
NBCC has been appointed purely for its capability and credibility. There have been instances in the past when the Supreme Court has appointed IIT Delhi and IIT Roorkee to look into technical matters of building code violations.