Guest post by Pallavi Mohan
Recently, the illegal Supertech Twin Towers in a city of Uttar Pradesh were brought down by powerful explosives in a matter of seconds. Let’s find out the details behind the controversial towers and their demolition based on an order of the Supreme Court of India.
What is the history behind the building of the Supertech Twin Towers?
In 2004, the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA) gave land in Sector 93A to a construction company called Supertech to build a housing society by the name of Emerald Court. In June 2005, the Authority approved a building plan to construct 14 towers with 10 storeys restricted to a height of 37 meters. In June 2006, the Authority leased more land to Supertech on the same terms.
The sanctioned building plan was amended in 2006 (to add Towers 15 & 16 and a shopping complex), in 2009 (Tower 17 was added; Towers 16 & 17 to have 24 floors each) and in 2012 (to increase Towers 16 & 17 to 40 and 39 floors respectively). The twin towers (Apex and Ceyanne) were eventually built as per the amended building plan of 2012.
Why did the Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA) go to court alleging illegal construction of the Twin Towers?
In 2014, the RWA of Emerald Court approached the Allahabad High Court alleging the illegal construction of these two towers. They argued that –
- The construction of the twin towers violated Section 5 of the Uttar Pradesh Apartment (Promotion of Construction, Ownership and Maintenance) Act, 2010 (UP Apartment Act). This section gave every apartment owner a percentage of undivided interest in the common areas and facilities. Supertech was not allowed to changeThis percentage without the written consent of all the apartment owners and approval of the competent authority.
- Supertech had encroached upon the space originally designated as a garden in the Emerald Court brochure to build the towers.
- The towers had been built without the designated 16 meters of space between them that was required by law.
The Allahabad High Court found the arguments in favour of the RWA and directed that –
- the Twin Towers be demolished within 4 months at the expense of Supertech;
- Supertech pay 14% interest to the homeowners who had purchased units in the towers along with the original amount paid by them; and
- The Competent Authority grants sanction for the prosecution of the Authority’s officials as per the relevant law.
What did the Supreme Court decide about the illegal construction of the Twin Towers?
Supertech appealed against the judgment of the Allahabad High Court in the Supreme Court. In August 2021, the Supreme Court affirmed the Allahabad High Court’s judgment after hearing homeowners who were both in favour and against the same. The Supreme Court found that –
- The Twin Towers violated distance requirements under the NOIDA Building Regulations and Directions, 2010. These requirements were created for the privacy, safety and the right of the residents to enjoy basic civic amenities such as access to well-ventilated areas where air and light are not blocked by close towering constructions.
- Section 5 of the UP Apartment Act would apply to the 3rd revision of the building plan in 2012. The Twin Towers reduced the value of the undivided interest held by each existing individual flat purchaser in the common areas and facilities. Supertech did not take their consent for this. The third revised plan encroached on the garden area in front of Tower 1 promised in Emerald Court’s brochure, going back on the promise made to those flat purchasers, without their consent.
- The record of permissions granted to Supertech for its revised building plans was full of instances of collusion between the officers of the Authority and Supertech. The Court sanctioned the prosecution of officials for violation of the law.
The towers were eventually demolished on 28.08.2022 by detonating 3700 kgs of explosives simultaneously in the towers.