New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday lashed out at Kerala government for not complying with its order to demolish four illegal apartments in Kochi’s Maradu municipality by September 20. Attributing floods in the state last month to illegal construction in high tide areas of the state, the top court further said that it will not hesitate in prosecuting officers for ‘culpable homicide.’
Slamming Kerala Chief Secretary Tom Jose, who appeared in the apex court in person, the SC said that his affidavit doesn’t make it look like the state wants to comply with its order. Accusing the government of ‘defying’ its order, the SC said that it will pass an order in the matter on Friday.
The Chief Secretary tendered an ‘unqualified apology’ in the court. In the affidavit, the Kerala government said that there were practical difficulties in demolishing the illegal structures.
The issue pertains to four apartment complexes in Kochi-Holy Faith, Golden Kayaloram, Alfa Serene and Jain Coral Cove. It is alleged that these were constructed in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms of Kerala. The Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA) challenged their construction in the SC, which, on May 8, ruled that the apartments were in violation of environmental normas and should be razed by the state government by September 20.
In a hearing on September 6, it reminded the state government to abide by its order.
However, the residents of the complexes, over 350 families, went on a protest against the top court order saying that they should not be punished for the builders’ fault. They further alleged that they were not heard by the SC and wondered where they’ll go if their falts are demolished.
They have received support from all political parties in Kerala, who have slammed the SC order.