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Fearful of the Supreme Court’s wrath, the Kerala government has informed municipal authorities in Maradu in Ernakulam district that it will offer all necessary help for the demolition of nearly 500 flats that have been ordered to be razed.

The apex court had on Friday handed out an ultimatum of September 20 to the local authorities for the demolition  the illegal flats and also asked the state chief secretary to appear before it on September 23 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.

Now in a fresh directive to the local authorities, the state government has asked the local body to go ahead with demolition and to comply with the dates given by the Supreme Court. In May 2019, Supreme Court ruled that the four apartment buildings — Holy Faith, Kayaloram, Alfa Ventures and Jain Housing  — were built violating Coastal Zone Regulation (CRZ) norms. On Friday again, the Supreme Court issued an ultimatum in the case, asking the Maradu municipality to complete the demolition by September 20. The court also asked the chief secretary of the state to submit a report on the demolition directly to the apex court on September 23.

Earlier, the local body had expressed apprehensions about the large amount of money that will be required to demolish the four apartment buildings. Though it has been solved now with government offering necessary help, the local body is still in a dilemma over the fate of about 400 residents living in the flats. “This is a massive issue that will affect many families. We will anyway conduct a meeting with the local body officials and decide how it should be initiated,” the secretary said.

After the court issued an ultimatum in the case on Friday, residents of the apartments had said that they will  file a curative petition against the order. However, the Supreme Court had earlier reprimanded the petitioners and their counsel for approaching a vacation bench with a review petition.

—India Legal Bureau

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