HC's green signal to Kenneth Builders for South Delhi project


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has given the go ahead to Kenneth Builders and Developers' to start construction work at its residential project in South Delhi, which had run into trouble because of lack of environment clearance.
The real estate company was alloted 14.3 hectare by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to build high-end residential apartments in Okhla, in South Delhi, in 2006, but it could not start work on the project as the Ministry of Environment & Forest and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee refused clearance on the grounds that the project was in the ridge area.
Kenneth Builders and Developers, is controlled by Indiabulls Infrastructure Ltd, a subsidiary of Indiabulls Real Estate.
Setting aside the objection of the environment and pollution clearance authority, a bench of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad and Justice Veena Birbal said that DDA has a final say on the land usage pattern in the city and any decision taken by it regarding  the land-usage pattern cannot be challenged.
"The master plan and the zonal plans are prepared by the DDA and they have a statutory flavour. Once the DDA has gone through the formalities required under law in preparing the master plan or the zonal plan or in carrying out any modifications therein, the land use of a particular area would stand determined as per the said plans," the bench said.
The court passed the order on a petition filed by the company seeking a direction to cancel land alloted to it and refund the amount of Rs 450 crore which it had paid to DDA.
While rejecting the contention of the Forest Department and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) that the area 'Tehkhand' in South Delhi was in the ridge area, the court said that under the master plan Act, land use is determined by the DDA and any other agency or authority cannot raise objection to it.
"When the land owning agency as also the authority which prepares the master plan clearly and categorically states that the land in question does not fall within the ridge area and the land use is residential, we fail to see as to how the DPCC or the Department of Forests, NCT of Delhi can raise any objection on this account," the bench said.