Beleaguered owners of flats at Maradu in Kochi, soon after hearing the Supreme Court order on Friday for demolition of their flats, said they would file a curative petition against the order.
Speaking to the media, E. Antony, an advocate and resident of one of the flats, said he would explore other legal remedies. "We will soon file a curative petition as we (flat owners) have not been heard. Only the builders have been heard. There still exists legal remedy and will be doing that," he said.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Local Self Government AC Moideen said the state government would seek legal advice. "Am yet to get a copy of the apex court order and we will seek legal advice on what has happened today," the minister said.
The Supreme Court has ordered demolition of flats by September 20 for violating the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules. It also asked the Chief Secretary to be present before the Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra on September 23.
The case involves demolition of 400 flats in five posh coastal apartment complexes in Maradu.
The Supreme Court expressed displeasure at the delaying tactics being adopted to stop the demolition. It had ordered the demolition on May 8, which was to be implemented within a month, but the instructions were not followed.
Cautioning the state from taking any step against the order, the apex court said, "Your state has violated the Supreme Court orders...don't get into misadventure. And don't do anything in between."
On July 5, the apex court had observed that senior counsels engaged by petitioners had played fraud and obtained a stay on the demolition from another Bench during the vacation of the apex court.
It was on June 10 that the vacation bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi had stayed demolition for six weeks after considering the writ petition filed by a group of residents, who claimed their arguments were not heard by the top court while pronouncing the demolition order of May 8.
"That Bench should not have entertained the matter at all", said Justice Mishra in a furious tone targeting the senior advocates who appeared in the matter.
"Should we draw contempt against you? I had specifically turned down the stay on the demolition, and then you went to other Bench...have ethics gone to the docks. Three-four senior counsels are involved in this fraud. Is money everything for you," said Justice Mishra.
The court dismissed the matter and warned the petitioners not to agitate against the issue further.
In May, the Supreme Court, in the aftermath of last year's Kerala floods, ordered the demolition of all illegal structures built on the notified CRZ at Maradu. It had said the state couldn't approve illegal constructions in light of the danger of floods and heavy rains.
The petitioners' counsel had then contended that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had given approval for the Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMPs) regarding the 10 coastal districts of Kerala. But the approval was pending before the court.
The permission to construct the buildings was granted in 2006 when Maradu was a Panchayat.