Unauthorised structures on Aravali forest land will have to go, says SC
SC said all unauthorized structure standing on Aravali forest land in Faridabad's Khori village will have to go as its order passed in the matter regarding demolition of such buildings is very clear
The Supreme Court Tuesday said all unauthorized structure standing on Aravali forest land in Faridabad's Khori village will have to go as its order passed in the matter regarding demolition of such buildings is very clear.
The apex court, which had on July 23 granted four more weeks to the Faridabad municipal corporation to remove encroachments from forest land, asked the commissioner of the civic body to submit a status report which may also include the outcome of representations made before him regarding rehabilitation.
A bench of justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari observed that those who are eligible under the policy are likely to be rehabilitated.
It observed that why should state rehabilitate those who are not eligible and are encroachers and land grabbers.
Our order is very clear that all unauthorized structures on forest land will have to go, the bench said.
At the outset, the counsel appearing for the municipal corporation said the court had last month directed that scheme on rehabilitation be finalised and the civic body, after considering the suggestions, has submitted it to the state government.
The counsel appearing for Haryana said that state need to invite objections and the policy would be finalised within two-three weeks.
When one of the lawyers appearing in the matter referred to the issue relating to the policy, the bench said, Let the final decision be taken. The final decision can be challenged. The justness of the policy can be tested .
The lawyer said that there must be temporary shelters with basic facilities so that those, whose houses have been demolished, can stay there.
He said as per the apex court's direction, they have made representation to the commissioner in this regard and they have been asked to go to either Radha Soami Satsang premises or Red Cross.
Something should be done by the state. They cannot wash of their hands. There are lactating mothers and children there. Temporary arrangement should be made, he said.
The counsel appearing for the municipal corporation said arrangements like beds, toilets and food have already been made available.
Almost 50 per cent population there was staying on rent and they have gone from there. Most of them have migrated. In Radha Soami and Red Cross, facilities are there, the counsel representing the civic body said, adding, if anyone has any grievance, they could approach the commissioner for its redressal.
When the lawyer claimed that Radha Soami premises is also on forest land, the counsel appearing for the municipal corporation countered him saying No, this is incorrect .
The bench, while noting that the four weeks time granted last month to the civic body is going to expire on August 23, has posted the matter for hearing on August 25.
It said that to assuage the grievances of locals and to enable them to avail the facilities made available in terms of the directions given by the apex court, the commissioner of municipal corporation may consider setting up an extended office in the Radha Soami complex where concerned persons have been provided temporary accommodation and food.
The bench also dealt with an application filed by those who said they have their own land which is used for hosting marriage functions.
The counsel appearing for the applicants said earlier the apex court had granted them interim relief in a separate matter against the order of National Green Tribunal (NGT) but now, the authorities have issued notice to them that their boundary would be demolished within four days.
If it is on forest land, they have to abide by our order, the bench observed, adding that it is concerned with unauthorized structures standing on forest land.
The top court said it would hear the matter on August 6 along with the pending pleas.
The bench told the counsel representing the municipal corporation that if the structures are on forest land, it can proceed but if the same is not on forest land, the authority may not go ahead till the hearing on the next date.
It said the applicants are at liberty to present materials before the competent authority, which has issued notice, so that they can consider the same.
On July 23, the apex court had granted four more weeks to the municipal corporation to remove encroachments on forest land, after the civic body had said that unauthorised structures on nearly half of the total 150 acre area has been cleared.
The bench was last month informed that the municipal corporation has undertaken a planned drive to remove unauthorised constructions and so far, 74 acres out of 150 acres was cleared and back in the possession of the civic body.
On June 7, the top court had directed state of Haryana and Faridabad municipal corporation to remove all encroachments , consisting around 10,000 residential constructions, in Aravali forest area near the village, saying land grabbers cannot take refuge of rule of law and talk of fairness .
It had passed the June 7 order after hearing a separate plea filed by five alleged encroachers against the demolition drive of civic body.