Chief Justice of India Justice N.V. Ramana on Monday said it will hear the impleadment application by a group of builders seeking the removal of the ban on construction in the National Capital Region on Friday while turning down the request for urgent listing.
Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the builders, mentioned the matter before the CJI-led bench and said losses of thousands of crores were suffered by the builders due to the ban on construction and that the orders of November 24 be vacated since the air quality had got better in the capital and its surrounding areas.
To this, CJI Ramana said the bench will hear the matter along with the main petition on December 10, Friday, and said the government will take a call if building activities should be resumed.
The Developers and Builders Forum had moved the application seeking directions against the blanket ban on construction activities in the NCR by the Apex Court due to change in air quality as recorded.
The Supreme Court on November 24, 2021 passed an order particularly in respect of the construction activities in the NCR, where the ban was imposed again on such activities following the conditions below:-
- Non-polluting activities relating to construction such as the plumbing work, interior decoration, electrical work and carpentry are allowed to be continued;
- The States shall use the funds which have been collected as labour cess for the welfare of construction workers to provide them subsistence for the period during which construction activities are prohibited and pay wages were notified under the Minimum Wages Act for the respective categories of workers.
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The applicants filed the present application to vacate the above order dated November 24, 2021 passed by the Supreme Court and also to do away with the ban imposed on construction of residential houses, apartments, small units and other such non-commercial construction activities.
The applicants submits that the above direction were issued without taking the views of all stakeholders and without differentiating between construction activities of various nature and ban is ought to be reconsidered in view of the relevant data and statistics.
The applicants submit that the ban imposed on the construction activities is affecting a large number of the construction workers on various aspects, especially their livelihood. The construction workers and other managerial personnel are employed on a monthly basis or as a daily wage worker. Such a ban which affects the livelihood of a larger number citizen would definitely have unfavourable effects on the society during such a pandemic.
The applicants submit further that the compensation for the losing jobs is being provided to workers only and not the other supervisory/managerial staff as per the directions of State Government of Delhi. Further such staff also has rental and other financial obligations which would be impossible to fulfil in view of the ban. That further the entire supply chain of the construction activity gets affected by such blanket ban as suppliers, vendors, etc. all require payments while the ban remains in effect.
The application also highlights the evident safety issues as under-construction buildings at basement stage, would cause a safety issue to the neighboring buildings if the same remain dug up for longer period of time.
The application further states as has that a large number of builders have faced insolvency proceedings under the IBC, 2016 due to delay in payments or delay in handing over possession during the pandemic. A ban on construction activities in a situation like this will only deteriorate the current situation at hand, making builders more prone to such proceedings under IBC because of delay in projects.
The application also points out that only 6.7-7.9% of the total air pollution in NCR is contributed by residential construction which is a miniscule percentage and makes the contribution of noncommercial construction almost negligible.
The present application has been preferred by one Brij Bhushan, Vice President of the Developers and Builders Forum. The applicant is a forum of more than 60 builders having business in NCT of Delhi. The builders, who are part of the forum, use the latest construction technology so as to reduce dust pollution and stay well within prescribed norms.