Two-judge Bench says no error in verdict warranting its reconsideration
The Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA) has lost its protracted legal battle against DLF Universal Limited regarding the housing project on the banks of the Chilavannur Lake in Kochi, with the Supreme Court rejecting its review petition.
A two-judge bench rejected the review petition last week by stating that there was “no error apparent on the face of the record, warranting reconsideration of the order impugned”.
The bench, comprising Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, arrived at this decision after “having carefully gone through the review petition, the order under challenge and the papers annexed” with the petition. The court also rejected the application of the authority for a personal hearing in the case. In its review petition, the KCZMA had contended that there were serious errors apparent on the face of the record in the impugned judgment of the Supreme Court.
The apex court, which concurred with the decision of the High Court, had also retained the ₹1-crore fine slapped on the builder.
Though the builder had issued a cheque for ₹1 crore as fine to the authority, it did not accept the money as the review petition was pending before the Supreme Court.
The authority had been engaged in a long-drawn-out legal battle over the alleged violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules by the builder. A single judge of the Kerala High Court had ordered the demolition of those parts of the apartment complex that were constructed in violation of the CRZ norms.
The Division Bench of the court reversed the decision in the appeal filed by the builder. The authority then appealed to the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Division Bench, against which the agency filed the review petition.
Incidentally, it was after much dilly-dallying that the authority decided to approach the Supreme Court with the review petition.
The general mood in the the authority was not to go in for a review in the apex court. However, it got a legal opinion that favoured approaching the apex court once again.
The authority then decided to file the review petition as it felt that the impugned judgment of the court involved substantial “public interest and far-reaching consequences for the coastal environment in the country”.