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Senior citizens who waged decade-long legal war against builder's illegal twin-towers in Noida

These senior citizens, including former central government and paramilitary officers, often travelled unreserved in trains for hearings in the Allahabad High Court and even had to collect donations to continue their legal battle against the builder

Senior citizens who waged decade-long legal war against builders illegal twin-towers in Noida
Twin towers in Noida


It was the relentless pursuit of justice over a decade by agroup of senior citizens that resulted in the Supreme Court's order fordemolition of the illegal 40-storey twin towers of a real estate group inNoida.

These senior citizens, including former central government and paramilitaryofficers, often travelled unreserved in trains for hearings in the AllahabadHigh Court and even had to collect donations to continue their legal battleagainst the builder.

Now, with the top court's decision on Tuesday, residents of Emerald Court inSector 93 of Noida are full of praise for these senior citizens and theirperseverance for justice for over 12 years.

In 2009, four residents went up against Supertech's plan for twin towers, whichwere coming up in violation of building bye-laws, and formed a core legalcommittee that moved the court.

UBS Teotia (80), S K Sharma (74), Ravi Bajaj (65) and M K Jain (59) have beencredited with bringing down the company to its knees. Jain was the onlyexception in the senior citizens' club but he passed away earlier this year dueto COVID-19, while Bajaj withdrew from the committee last year citing personalreasons, said Sharma who had retired as deputy director general from theTelecom Department.

"These were old men who fought this case. Teotia, who was a DIG in theCRPF, led the battle with all of us by his side," Sharma told PTI, whilealso crediting their lawyers Jayant Bhooshan and Aneesh Agrawal for skilfullypresenting the case in courts.

Teotia said nobody believed that an order like this could be passed against thebuilder and more than half of the residents of the building's society were alsonot convinced.

"But we were sure and had facts and rules on our side," Teotia said. Herecalled the whole legal battle as a "tough journey" involving 30hearings over a period of seven years in the Supreme Court alone.

"Before that we would travel to Allahabad for high court dates. Travelled3rd class in trains," the former DIG said, adding that collectingdocuments from local, state and national authorities was also "verytough".

Teotia, who turned 80 on August 30, said the legal and related expenses costthem about Rs 1 crore, for which they had to go door to door for donations fromsociety members. Rajesh Rana (62), the current president of Emerald Courtresident welfare association (RWA), said the original team of four wasextremely involved in the case.

"We had a good legal team but these senior citizens left no stoneunturned. From following case details, gathering documents to managing day today activities, they really made the team work," Rana, who retired fromthe corporate world two years ago, said.

Asked about the long-drawn battle, Sharma recalled that their case started in2012 in the Allahabad High Court and on every date at least two of them madesure they attended it.

"Often we had to travel unreserved in trains to Allahabad. There were alsotimes when we resorted to donations in order to keep the legal battle alive. Wewent door to door for donations from the residents," he said.

He said the conflict was clear.

The builder was developing two more high-rise towers in the housing project inviolation of rules. The new towers impacted ventilation, sunlight and responseto emergency situations for other residents of the 15 towers, he claimed.

"Every time we discussed the legalities of the matter with residents,there would be some with a differing opinion. But by and large, we got fullsupport of all residents," Sharma said.

Jain's wife said her husband was a "brave man" who pursued the caselegally.

"We have often seen how some people withdraw themselves from legal cases,which most of the times tend to be long-drawn processes. But he never gotscared. He would have been very happy today with the court's decision,"she told.

In a setback to Supertech Ltd, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed demolitionof twin 40-storey towers of the realty major's Emerald Court project in Noidafor violation of building bye-laws "in collusion" with the localauthority officials.

Both the towers -- Apex and Ceyane -- were under construction when theAllahabad High Court had ordered their demolition. After Supertech Ltdapproached the apex court against the high court order, a status quo wasordered. The top court said the case record is replete with instances whichhighlight the collusion between officers of the Noida Authority with SupertechLtd and its management and involvement of the planning authority with thedeveloper in violation of laws.

The apex court directed that the entire amount of home buyers be refunded with12 per cent interest from the time of the booking and the Residents WelfareAssociation be paid Rs 2 crore for the harassment caused due to theconstruction of the twin towers. Supertech said it would file a review petitionover the order, while Noida Authority said it will ensure full compliance ofthe SC's verdict and ensure action against its officials who are found guiltyof violation in the case.

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