Maradu flat owners to explore ordinance route to save their homes

Maradu flat owners to explore ordinance route to save their homes
The residents of Maradu, who claim that the Supreme Court order was issued without hearing their grievances, plan to approach the Union government.
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Kochi: With the Supreme Court issuing an ultimatum to demolish five apartment complexes in Maradu municipality of Kerala's Ernakulam district, the residents are exploring all legal options to save their homes. They are even planning, as a last resort, to knock on the doors of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The residents, who claim that the Supreme Court order was issued without hearing their grievances, plan to approach the Union government seeking to issue an ordinance to overcome the verdict.

The issue hogged limelight in May this year when the Supreme Court directed to raze the five buildings, constructed in a notified Coastal Regulation Zone. In July, the apex court dismissed a review petition plea filed by the builders.

The court talked tough when the state government failed to act on its order. On September 6, the apex court ordered the Kerala government to demolish the apartments and file a compliance report on September 20, failing which the chief secretary has to appear before it on September 23.

'We will try to meet Union ministers'

“We will try to meet Union ministers for home and environment to convey our grievances and convince them about the need to bring in an ordinance to save our homes,” film maker Major Ravi, who is a resident of Holy Faith H2O, one of the five apartments ordered to be demolished, told Onmanorama on Monday.

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Ravi, a known supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is believed to have close contacts within the central government. He said that he is trying to get appointments to meet the the ministers.

Joyson and Peeyus A Kottam, Holy Faith residents, too confirmed the plan. Peeyus, a lawyer, said that they are also trying to regularise the constructions. “The government had earlier issued a notification to regularise constructions built before July 2018 without obtaining permission from authorities. If the government can reissue the notification, we can get no objection certificate from the government,” Peeyus said.

'Ordinance can be challenged'

Asked about the possibility of bringing in an ordinance in favour of the flat owners, lawyer and environmental activist Harish Vasudevan said it is unlikely to pass the scrutiny of judiciary. “Such an ordinance will be against the Environment (Protection) Act. It can be challenged in the court,” he said.

He said the flat owners will have the option to file a civil case seeking compensation from the builders if the apartments are razed.

BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai, a seasoned lawyer, said the court order cannot be surpassed with an ordinance. “The BJP's stance is that affected people should get justice, but the sovereignty of the apex court should be honoured. The state government has to initiate the steps to get an exception for the flat owners in Maradu,” he said.

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