Maradu flats: SC mulls waiving court fee for compensation pleas

Maradu flats: SC mulls waiving court fee for compensation pleas

New Delhi: Offering a slight relief to those who lost their property following the demolition of the four flat complexes in Maradu, Supreme Court stated it would consider waiving court fee for petitions seeking compensation.

The apex court gave this assurance on Monday while considering the plea of the advocates representing the flat owners that their clients would have to pay huge amount as court fee while filing petitions in the civil court seeking compensation.

The court however did not agree to the demand that the damages should be paid from the confiscated assets. Though, some of the builders wanted the court to allow them to sell their confiscated assets to pay compensation, the court said that it would be considered after four weeks if they submitted an application for the same.

The court also asked the petitioners to file separate applications before them if they had complaints about compensation. The interim aid was fixed at Rs 25 lakh. The court made this observation while counsel told the bench that some flat owners had more than one apartment in the demolished buildings. However, the committee appointed for fixing compensation has said that compensation would be paid for one flat only.

Advocate Dushyant Dave appearing for some evicted residents wanted the court's permission for residents to move a lower court to initiate legal proceedings for compensation and damages against builders, promoters and officials responsible for clearing the files related to the constructions and completing the projects. The court asked the erstwhile owner-residents to file a separate application on the issue.

The bench comprising of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice M R Shah, scheduled the case for further hearing on February 10.

The residential high-rises named Holyfaith H20, Alfa Serene (two towers), Jain Coral Cove and Golden Kayaloram were razed on Saturday and Sunday to comply with a 2019 Supreme Court order over violation of Coastal Regulation Zone norms.

Debris clearance

The court also said that it would keep an eye on the process of removing the debris of the demolished structures.

Amidst reports that some portions of the demolished structure may have fallen into the backwater, the court asked the government to remove it.

"You have to restore the area,” the bench told the state government’s counsel even while he sought more time even though the court fixed a four-week deadline for removing the debris.

The Kerala government brought to the notice of the court that all the four apartment complexes built in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone norms at Maradu has been removed.

No other means: Judge

Justice Arun Mishra, the lead judge on the bench, orally described the decision to demolish the four high-end luxury apartment complexes as a “painful duty”. This observation was made while advocate Dushyant Dave pointed out that the demolition has helped people to understand the strength of the law to curtail illegal actions.

The order was issued as there were no other means to end illegal constructions, Justice Mishra said.

I hope the momentum of illegal construction activities will decrease in the wake of the order. Further actions will be initiated once the debris is cleared from the site. Apart from petitions reaching the court, they have also been getting complaints from various quarters on the issue, he added.

However, the bench refrained from passing any orders.

Advocate Venikita Remani and standing counsel G Prakash appeared for the government, while advocates Haris Beeran and Santhosh Mathew appeared for the builders.