Has Noida Authority flouted Apartment Act?
After claiming in High Court that the layout plan of a project in Noida was not revised, the Authority approved it six days later
Section 4 (4) of the Uttar Pradesh Ap a r t m e n t A c t 2010 has been created to protect the interests of investors in residential projects in the state. Builders cannot make any changes in the layout plans once apartments in a project have been sold. Interestingly, in a case that seems to be getting complicated by the day, Noida Authority, instead of safeguarding the interests of homebuyers, seems to have gone out of its way to endorse a project in which the Act has been flouted. Not only that, the Authority’s lawyer also made a statement in Allahabad High Court (HC) on April 30, 2015 that the layout plan had not been amended, but, in a great hurry, approved it within six days of making the statement.
The HC had dismissed a case filed by Mohinder Kumar Bhatla and Aviral Bhatla, joint allottees of an apartment in Jaypee Kristal Court in Sector 128, Noida, petitioning against part of the project being sold to the builder Mahagun, for a new project, Mahagun Manorial. The changes in the project plans had been made without their (allottees’) permissions ( as per the Act), the Bhatlas alleged.
The petitioners had smelt a divided i n two parts – the original Kristal Court existed but was smaller with just four towers while the space for the other towers was allocated for Mahagun Manorial.
“The whole layout plan was drastically changed and the five towers of Kristal Court were replaced with six new towers of Mahagun Manorial, and their floors increased from 20 to 26 to 40 to 45. Section 4( 4) of the Apartment Act 2010 clearly states that consent of all the allottees is mandatory before change in a project’s original plan.It was then that the Bhatlas decided to move to the Allahabad High Court,” says SK Pal, Bhatlas’ advocate.
During the hearing, on April 30, 2015, Noida Authority’s lawyer Shivam Yadav told the
Court that the layout plan of Jaypee Greens’ Kristal Court project had neither been revised nor amended. This was the basis for the dismissal of the Bhatlas’ case, as HC saw no merit in continuing with since the Authority had claimed that no changes or revision had been made.
Surprisingly, six days after t he case dismissal, Noida Authority allowed the split of the Kristal Court project. Requests for approvals came in long before, ie March 31, 2015, but the Authority did not inform the court about it during the hearing on April 30, 2015. “When the request for the change of plan (Jaypee Kristal Court) to create a new project was pending before the Noida Authority, it should have informed the HC that the proposal for an amendment was pending with it. This shows mala fide intention on the part of the Authority,” says Pal.
Now, in a strongly- worded letter to Rama Raman, CEO, Noida Authority, Mohinder Kumar Bhatla has said, “To my utter surprise I was shocked to see an advertisement in the newspaper by Mahagun that Noida Authority has approved the Mahagun Manorial Project as per l etter number 2015/ III – 293/785 dated 06/05/2015. It appears that Noida authority has not briefed its learned counsel of the fact that you were considering the approval of this Project in Pocket 9 B, Sector 128, Noida, as per the request letter dated 31-03-2015 sent by Messers Jaypee Infratech Ltd.”
In his letter, Bhatla has reproduced the Allahabad HC order, which says the counsel of the Development Authority has made a statement that NOIDA Authority has neither revised nor amended nor sanctioned any fresh layout plan in the project in which the petitioner claims to be one of the applicants for allotment of an apartment. “In the circumstances, the allegations made by the petitioner that initial lay out plan has been amended by bifurcation/ division/ alteration does not stand. That be so, we do not find any merit in this petition warranting interference in writ jurisdiction. It is accordingly dismissed,” the HC had said.
Bhatla also requested the Noida Authority CEO to “immediately inform the court that the statement made by your counsel is not correct as the application for Mahagun Manorial was pending at that point of time and update me about the same. In case you fail to do I would be forced to approach the Honourable High Court and proceed accordingly.”
Now the question is: why did Noida Authority tell the court that the initial layout plan of Jaypee Green Group Housing Society had not been amended when a proposal for such an amendment was pending before it?
There was no response to an email sent by this correspondent to Rama Raman, CEO, Noida Authority for his clarifications.