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The Supreme Court on Friday handed out an ultimatum of September 20  to the local authorities in Kerala for the demolition of over 400 illegal flats and has summoned the Kerala  chief secretary on September 23 to appear before it with a report on the demolition.

“Ask your state to follow law. Your state is known for not following the law. Kerala isn’t above the law,” said Justice Arun Mishra who had ordered the demolition of the flats that were allegedly built in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone laws. Giving an ultimatum to demolish the four apartment buildings in Kochi built violating Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms, the Supreme Court on Friday said that buildings should be demolished by September 20. The bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra has also directed the chief secretary of the state to present the demolition report directly to the court on September 23.

In May this year, the Supreme Court ruled that five apartments located in Maradu municipality in Kochi were built in violation of CRZ. While four of the apartment buildings – Holy Faith, Kayaloram, Alfa Ventures and Jain Housing – are occupied by residents, one is yet to be constructed. It was ordered that the apartments should be demolished within one month from the date of the verdict. There are about 400 residents living in these four apartment buildings.

The apex Court on Wednesday had started suo motu proceedings against Maradu municipality for not complying with the court order. The case was heard on Friday. Though multiple writ petitions and review petitions were filed by multiple residents and builders of the apartments, the apex court stuck to its order.

In July, Maradu municipality had started to estimate how much it will cost to demolish the buildings. On the request of the local body, the state government had also appointed an expert team to look into the environmental hazards that will be caused during the demolition of the buildings situated on the banks of Kochi’s backwaters.

–India Legal Bureau

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