From the President of the country to the Chief Justice of India and the Chief Minister, it is a frenetic bid by the 400 odd flat owners of five Maradu apartment complexes to save eviction in another three days and razing to the ground their residences by September 20. They have moved the Supreme Court through a curative petition so that they too are to be heard.
In a related development, the state Government has sought the views of Solicitor General Thushar Mehta. This is more in the backdrop of the threat of the Chief Secretary having to face action if the apex court order to demolish the flat complexes before September 20 for violating Coastal Regulation Zone norms is not implemented by September 20.
The growing public support for the flat owners who have been 'cheated' by the builders and the then officials of the Maradu panchayat (now a municipality) by illegally securing/granting building permit has embarrassed the Government.
The flat owners have been on a sit-in right in front of the Maradu municipal office which has slapped eviction notices and also invited tenders from demolition contractors to undertake the mission by September 20.
They also propose to move Kerala High Court against Maradu municipality.
Congress leader Hibi Eden, MP of Ernakulam, joined the protesters and said it was not a political struggle but one which had a "human angle". He said it was natural that the owners should have been heard. The State Government had to interfere in the matter immediately as it was not the owners but the builders and the local body authorities who illegally gave the approvals who were at fault.
SC should hear owners: Kemal Pasha
Former High Court judge Kemal Pasha, known for his candid views, feels it is the responsibility of the State Government to ensure that the flat owners are not denied natural justice.
He joined the sit-in by the flat owners on Thursday morning and said the basic tenets of natural justice enshrine that the flat owners are heard.
Through demolition of the flats, what would be achieved was destruction of the lives of around 1,500 people living there.
Under rules, the flat owners have the right to be heard and the verdict should have been considering their plight. He hoped the apex court would hear the plea of the beleaguered flat owners.
The State Government was bound to ensure the safety and security of the flat owners and even while following the Supreme Court verdict, it should provide matching alternatives to them. It needed to look at ways to surmount the hardships of the owners, he added.