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EXCLUSIVE: DLF building demolition Case – Kerala Coastal Zone Authority allegedly attempts to create false evidence

An interesting development took place at the Supreme Court in Court No. 11 on 28th November, when two Government departments came to loggerheads over the grant of building permits to DLF. The bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and S. K. Kaul were hearing the appeals filed by the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA) against the order of the Division Bench of the High Court of Kerala which regularized the “unauthorized and illegal construction” effected by DLF on the eastern bank of the Chilavannoor River.

The Division Bench had set aside the order of the Single Judge directing the demolition of the entire existing structure built up by DLF. The Single Judge had arrived at the conclusion after finding that DLF was in violation of the relevant CRZ notifications. The Division Bench, while confirming the finding of the single judge that the constructions effected were illegal set aside the order of demolition and directed DLF to pay an amount of Rs. 1,00,00,000 for being used exclusively for building up the environment, maintaining ecological balance in the area. The KCZMA challenged the order of the division bench before the Supreme Court on the grounds that constructions in violation of the CRZ notifications cannot be regularized and hence the entire structure has to be demolished.

During the course of arguments, it was further urged that the Floor Access Ratio (FAR) of the sanctioned project was 1.99 when the actual FAR that could be granted for the area was only 1.5 and that the Corporation of Kochi erred in granting permission for the construction. However, this was vehemently opposed to by the counsel appearing for the Corporation of Kochi. The counsel contended that such submissions were erroneous and against the law. The counsel proceeded to point out the relevant rules, regulations and notifications to substantiate the contention that the Corporation was abiding by the rules while providing building permit with FAR of 1.99. He further pointed out that the KCZMA was exhibiting double standards when it came to FAR regulations. He pointed out that it was KCZMA who had sanctioned FAR at the rate of 2.115 for another builder namely, Kalyan Panorama Buildings.

It was at this point in time that the counsel for the Corporation brought to the notice of the Court, a letter dated 17.11.2017, issued by KCZMA directing the Corporation of Kochi to issue a certificate to the effect that the FAR as on the said date was 1.5 and that there can’t be any relaxation under the relevant Rules. The said letter was also accompanied by a draft certificate to be issued. A perusal of these letters and the Certificate sought from the Corporation by the KCZMA would clearly reveal an attempt on the part of the KCZMA to prepare false evidence to be produced in the Court. It may be pertinent to note that, Justice Kaul mentioned that the Court was trying to find out the Brutus in the Crowd in a litigation set on fire by Mr. Antony, whom Justice Nariman referred to as Mark Antony.

Such a revelation during the course of arguments invokes a fair bit of suspicion over the KCZMA. If the KCZMA did sent out a letter to the Kochi Corporation for grant of a certificate it would qualify as a deliberate attempt on the part of the KCZMA to create false evidence. It is also pertinent to note that the said letter was issued while the hearing of the appeals was proceeding before the Court. Questions also arise as to the actual motivation of the KCZMA in approaching the Supreme Court for demolition of the structure. It further casts a shadow of doubt over the KCZMA and their crusade to “preserve and protect the coastal heritage of Chilavanoor river”. Truly, something actually stinks along the coastlines of Kerala and for once, it’s not the fish. When the demons fight it out in the Temple of Justice it can only be Gods who may save Gods own Country.

Read KSCMA’s letter directing the Corporation of Kochi to issue a certificate:

 

Read draft letter below:

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