Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Beware ! NGT Fines Mumbai Builder, Be Prepared to Lose Property & Money

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has fined Mumbai builder for violation of Environment norms. NGT has also asked Project Proponent to not to create third party interest until he amends the plan and deposits the fine. This and earlier same judgments will have long lasting impact on real estate industry. Especially Pune being hub of illegal real estate projects. Recent judgments on violation of environment norms show that courts are not ready to pardon environment violation on account of fait accompli. And that is the reason project proponents and property buyers need to worry and take precaution.

Photo courtsey www.tolerance.org
There are so many real estate projects that have started or completed without obtaining necessary environment clearance (EC) . Even in some cases builders have forcefully given possession to flat purchasers. Everybody who are about to book, booked or have taken possession in such project need to be cautious because in that case even after taking possession if NGT or court asks to amend plan, property buyers  may have  to wash their hands of said property.

In this case project was started without obtaining EC and there after EC was given but SEAC turned a blind eye to the construction carried out in violation of environment norms. NGT didn’t cancel said EC but asked project proponent to amend the plan of the sale building, get it approved as per law and asked him not to proceed and not to create third party interest by way of sale, transfer, assignment, lease or parting with possession of any portion of sale building/component in any manner whatsoever shall be made unless the amounts as directed  are paid and necessary amends to comply with the directions to provide additional parking spaces are made.

In pune and around more than 150 projects have started construction without obtaining EC and there are some projects to whom EC has been denied. However in these both the cases either project proponent has forcefully given possession or some have willingly taken possession. If we look at recent judgments on violation of environment norms it seems that courts are not ready to pardon environment violation on account of fait accompli. And that is the reason project proponents and property buyers need to worry and take precaution.

Photo courtsey politicalhumor.about.com
NGT also observed that the project proponent violated the EC Regulations, 2006 by undertaking construction before the EC was granted and thereby denied the realistic environmental safeguard to be in place. NGT also said that it may not be possible to determine compensation on account of violations of EC Regulations with consequential untold damage to the environment and with some exactitude, but that should not be the reason for the project proponent to avoid their liability in that regard. The NGT has already held that   non-compliance of environment norms would be of serious consequence, not only on environment but upon the society at large.

And hence NGT has asked project Proponent priyali builders  to  pay and remit a sum of Rs. 3 crores to the Authority, specified under sub-section (3) of section 7(A) of the Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991 ( PLI Act )  to be credited to the Environmental Relief Fund within a fortnight. PLI Act is an An act to provide for public liability- insurance for the purpose of providing immediate relief to the persons affected by accident occurring while handling any hazardous substance and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. In this case collector is an authority to recover such fines. NGT has asked this sum to credited in the Environmental Relief Fund within a fortnight.

NGT also asked respondent priyali builders  pay an amount of Rs. 32,63,600/- being market price of the deficient recreational area as on March, 2014 to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board for incurring expenses on Environmental and ecological rehabilitation within a fortnight.

Photo courtsey www.climateactionreserve.org
Recent NGT judgments are eye opener for builders violating environment norms and also for the property buyers who ignore such things, ignorance of law can not can be excuse to pardon to wrong doings. Builders cheat when property buyers become emotional fool. Now its up to property buyers to decide next course of action. Actually stopping such illegal activities is responsibility of concerned authorities and officials but when they become party to such cheating, property buyers need to take this responsibility on own shoulders. 

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