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The bird’s eye view of Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2019 -With Specific Reference to Judicial Scrutiny of The Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority v. Maradu Municipality and Others

Law Centrum

19 May 2022

“What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?” _ Henry David Thoreau


Pursuant to Section 3 of the Environment protection act 1986, Coastal regulation zone notification 2019 was issued by Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Erstwhile in 1991 the Ministry of Environment and forests (MoEF) notified coastal regulation zone notification for regulation and protection of coastal area. Wherein, Coastal regulation zone (CRZ) was classified into four groups depending on the land usage and developmental activities (Draft CRZ notification , 2018). Since then, the notification was reviewed and amended couple of times in line with representations received from coastal states and various stake holders. As a consequence of Tsunami disaster in India, CRZ 2011 notification was issued by MoEF repealing the earlier notification. In 2014 MoEF was renamed as Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF & CC) and the same year the ministry received grievance from the coastal states expressing their dissatisfaction on the complex and inapplicable nature of 2011 notification. Consequently, MoEF & CC constituted a committee headed by Dr Shailesh Nayam to study the issue posed by 2011 notification. Thus, the committee came up with a new policy on coastal management after considering the representations, communications and correspondence made by various States and Union territories. Thus, the present notification on CRZ is the third notification.

Insights Of Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2019

The superseded notification is endeavored to conserve and protect the coastal and marine areas and due consideration was given to safeguard the livelihood of the fishermen/ local communities as a way to sustainable development. The notification declares coastal stretches and water areas that fall within the territorial limits of the country as “coastal regulation zone”. Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands and other marine areas enclosed to the island are excluded from the purview of designated coastal regulation zone. The CRZ notification is intended to serve the following three main purposes: (1) to meet the development needs while giving due consideration to the natural resources, (2) to prevent and control the hazardous activities which are harmful for both coastal communities and environment, (3) to strive for sustainable management.

The CRZ were classified into four groups namely CRZ-I, CRZ-II, CRZ-III and CRZ-IV. CRZ-I includes economically critical areas which is further divided into economically sensitive areas (CRZ-I A) and intertidal zone (CRZ-I B). Economically sensitive area includes: mangroves, coral reefs, sand dunes, mudflats, national parks, marine parks, sanctuaries, reserve forests, wildlife habitats, salt marshes, turtle nesting grounds, archaeological sites etc. Intertidal zone is the area that lies between low tide line and high tide line. CRZ-II forms urban areas that exist within the municipal limit close to shoreline. This category encompasses the region which has already developed and having proper infrastructure. CRZ-III comprises of undisturbed rural areas which is further categorised into CRZ-III A and CRZ-III B on the basis of density of population. Based on the population density of 2161 persons per km2 as per 2011 census, the area shall be designated as CRZ III A (>2161/km2) and CRZ III B (<2161/km2). in CRZ-III A, area up to 50 meters from the HTL on the landward side is designated as the ‘No Development Zone (NDZ) and in CRZ-III B, the area up to 200 meters from the HTL on the landward side is categorized as the ‘No Development Zone (NDZ)’. No development zone is the area where no construction shall be permitted except for repairs of existing authorised structures not exceeding existing FSI, existing plinth area and existing density, and for permissible activities under the notification including facilities essential for such activities. An authority designated by the state government may permit construction of facilities for water supply drainage and sewerage for requirements of local inhabitants. However, the following uses may be permissible in this zone – agriculture, horticulture, gardens, pastures, parks, play fields, forestry and salt manufacture from sea water.

Water areas and sea bed areas are designated as CRZ-IV which is further divided into CRZ IV-A (the water area from the Low Tide Line to twelve nautical miles on the seaward side and CRZ IV – B (the zone shall include the water area of the tidal influenced water body from the mouth of the water body at the sea up to the influence of tide which is measured as five parts per thousand (ppt) during the driest season of the year (salinity concentration less than 5 ppt).

In view of the livelihood of local communities who are totally dependent on the water bodies are concerned, critically vulnerable coastal areas (CVCA) are designated. Ecologically sensitive areas recognized under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 also falls under this category. The core idea behind this provision is to enable the coastal communities to manage coastal resources with their involvement.

Para 4 of CRZ notification prohibits the following activities within CRZ: setting new industries/ expanding already existing industries, manufacturing of oil, storing/disposing of hazardous substances, disturbing the natural course of seawater by reclamation or dumping of city wastes, disposal of plastic, etc. The said prohibition is subject to exceptions as stipulated in paragraph 5. Eco-tourism activities, reclamation activities are permitted only for defence and public utility purposes and this can be done only after detailed environment impact assessment by coastal zone management authority with respect to ecologically most sensitive area categorised under CRZ I-A. In case of inter tidal areas (CRZ I-B) the following activities are permitted: Land reclamation for construction of port/harbor, defence project, measures to control erosion, to generate power by non - conventional energy sources like wind, solar etc, loading/unloading of hazardous substances from ship to port and vice versa, storage of non-hazardous cargo, manual mining of atomic minerals, hatchery and natural fish drying, weather forecasting instruments, salt harvesting, desalination facilities, etc. Paragraph 5.2 permits the construction and reconstruction of buildings for residential purposes, schools, hospitals, public places, etc. on landward side provided such construction must comply with the norms of Floor Space Index (FSI) and local town and country planning regulations. Construction of beach resorts, hotels, and tourism development projects are allowed subject to the conditions specified in annexure III of CRZ notification. Temporary tourism facilities are permitted on the approval of Coastal zone management plan (CZMP).

The Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority v. Maradu Municipality and Others: Analysis

After years of dispute, conclusion was reached in Maradu apartment case in 2019 (Kerala state coastal zone management authority v. Maradu Municipality and others., 2019) with the Supreme Court order for demolition of four multi-storied apartments in Cochin, Kerala. The question raised in the case was whether the disputed area falls under the category of CRZ-III as per the 1991 notification norms? The norms explicitly prohibit construction of buildings on ‘No development Zone’ which is measured from High Tide Line (HTL) towards 200 metres landward side. However, the provision allows to perform repair works on already existing structures not exceeding the FSI threshold (MoEF, 1991).

In 2006, Maradu Municipality approved the builders to construct building according to Kerala municipal building rules, 1999. The next year, Kerala Government gave letter to the municipality to revoke the permit for raising the building and a month later, issued show-cause notice to the municipality requiring explanation for violating CRZ-I. As a result, Municipality filed writ of certiorari to quash the letter and show-cause notice. The high court passed order in favour of the municipality on the ground that State government has no power to direct the municipality to order for cancellation of permit issued. Aggrieved by the order, Kerala Government filed writ appeal before the high court in 2012. The high court dismissed the writ appeal. In 2015, Kerala coastal zone management authority filed review petition against the judgement and again the review petition was also dismissed by the High court.

In 2015, Government of Kerala filed Special leave petition, wherein the court passed order to constitute a committee constituting of three members and directed to prepare a detailed report on legality of the construction. Adhering to the report of the committee, Supreme Court ordered for demolition of the building and also sets out deadline for demolition. At the same time, committee was constituted to deal with the issue relating to providing reimbursement for the residents.

The Supreme Court by applying the CRZ notification to island, held that construction raised in violation of CRZ notification which was intended to protect environment and ecology in the coastal area cannot be lightly condoned. Further the court referred the notification as law of land since it is meant to protect the environment and said the notification has to be obeyed and enforced. This case was imperative because this is the first case in which CRZ violations were subjected to judicial scrutiny of apex court. The same day of demolition of the Maradu apartments, Supreme Court in Green Lagoon Island case (M/s Vaamika Island v. Union of India and others, 2013) and Kapico Kerala Resorts case (Kapico Kerala Resorts Pvt.Ltd vs State Of Kerala, 2013), ordered demolition of resorts constructed in backwater islands designated as critically vulnerable coastal areas.

The Maradu apartment case paved way for the establishment of Costal District Committees to scrutinize and report various CRZ norm violations in the State. Accordingly the committee submitted its report stating 26,000 CRZ violation in various districts Kerala. 26,000 CRZ violations were suspected as per the report of special team designated for this purpose. It is pertinent to note here that the S.C order demolishing the constructed building would deter the minds of illegal constructors and prevent further occurrence of such events.


Chandramohan, P. (2019). Quick reference for Coastal Regulation zone for Indian Coastline - CRZ Classification 2019.

Draft CRZ notification . (2018). public notice.

Kapico Kerala Resorts Pvt.Ltd vs State Of Kerala, SPL (C) Nos.34143­45 (2013).

Kerala state coastal zone management authority Vs Maradu Municipality and others., SLP (c) Nos 4784-85 of 2019 (2019). Retrieved 02 07, 2020

M/s Vaamika Island v. Union of India and others, S.L.P. (CIVIL) 24390-24391 (2013).

MoEF. (1991). Notification under section 3(1) and section 3(2)(v) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and rule 5(3)(d) of the. Gazette of India, Department of Environment, Forests & Wildlife, New Delhi.

(2014). Report of the Committee to review the Issues Relating to the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2011. Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, New Delhi.

Sudhi, K. (2020, January 1). The Hindu. Crisis along the coast. The Hindu.

The International Eco-tourism Society. (2019). Retrieved from What is eco tourism:

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