In a Prohibitory Order, Section 144 of CrPC was imposed in Kochi in the evacuation zone around the four illegal waterfront apartment complexes in Maradu region of Kochi by the Ernakulam District Magistrate on 11th January, 2020. The order is to be in force within a 200-meter radius of the complexes from 8 AM to 5 PM on 11th and 12th January, 2020. Two high rises were to be demolished today on 11th January and the rest on 12th January.
One of the unique features of the order was that Section 144 was imposed on land, water and air. Kochi Police Commissioner Vijay Sakhare said that drones will be shot down if anyone attempts to fly them. He also warned of criminal and legal consequences if anyone tried to fly drones in the area.
On 8 May 2019, the Supreme Court of India declared the structures to be illegal and constructed in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms and ordered five apartments in Maradu municipality in Kerala to be demolished within one. However, only four of these apartments had been constructed. The court remarked that the State cannot bear illegal constructions with the danger of floods and heavy rain looming large.
SC had constituted an expert committee to examine whether the area wherein the apartments were sanctioned by Maradu Panchayat (as it was then) comes within CRZ II or CRZ III. Committee found the buildings to be constructed within CRZ III. Accepting the report of the committee, the court observed that violations of CRZ norms cannot be taken lightly and should be condoned when natural calamities are happening frequently in different parts of the country.
Author : Parth Thummar