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Kerala High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Shaji P. Chaly, J. hearing a civil writ petition set aside an order rejecting occupancy certificate to a resort and ruled in favour of the construction company which had challenged respondent Panchayat’s order of refusal.

Petitioner company had secured a building permit for construction of a resort on a particular land. The said permit was renewed by respondent by way of an endorsement but post construction, when the petitioner submitted an application seeking issuance of occupancy certificate, the same was rejected on the ground that petitioner’s construction of resort violated the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010. Hence, the instant petition.

The Court noted that admittedly the respondent had granted permit to the petitioner in the year 2009. The Wetlands Rules came into force only after the permit was secured by the company. The permit issued by Secretary of Panchayat was renewed twice, last extension whereof was valid up to December 2018.

Relying on the judgment in Vardha Enterprises (P) Ltd. v. Rajendra Kumar Razdan, (2015) 15 SCC 352 it was observed that the permit granted to petitioner was in accordance with the law existing in the year 2009 and as such, the objection raised by the respondent under the Wetlands Rules was not sustainable.

Accordingly, the petition was allowed and the Secretary of the respondent Panchayat was directed to finalize petitioner’s application seeking occupancy certificate, at the earliest.[Niraamaya Retreats Kumarakom (P) Ltd. v. Kumarakom Gram Panchayath, 2018 SCC OnLine Ker 5383, decided on 12-12-2018]