We are conscious of humanity, it is not forte of only few: SC

While hearing case of Faridabad's Khori village where unauthorised structures on Aravali forest area were removed, SC made it clear that rehabilitation will be for those who would be found eligible

Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India
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PTI

"We are conscious of humanity and it is not the forte of only few," observed the Supreme Court on Monday while hearing the case of Faridabad's Khori village where unauthorised structures standing on Aravali forest area were removed and made it clear that rehabilitation will be for those who would be found eligible.

A bench of justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari was told by senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for some of the petitioners who are resident of the village, that basic amenities like drinking water, food, toilets, temporary accommodation, electricity and medical facilities were not provided to the people and they are facing hardship after the demolition.

At the outset, Gonsalves referred to a report prepared by social workers and some lawyers who had visited the area and interviewed the people there and told the bench there is an urgent need of drinking water, accommodation, food, toilets, health facilities and electricity there as the claims of authorities about temporary accommodation are absolutely false.

The counsel appearing for the municipal corporation of Faridabad told the bench that they did not agree to the report and it is absolutely wrong to paint us black as they have already provided temporary accommodation, food, toilets and other necessary amenities.

He said there were land grabbers and the authorities cannot permit any strangers to come there.

During the hearing conducted through video-conferencing, Gonsalves said people there are on the debris as they have nowhere to go and are waiting for rehabilitation.

However, the bench said debris there are of demolished houses. Those houses were demolished because they were unauthorised. Persons can't stand on the debris and say we will not move from there.

"Please understand what we are saying," the bench said.

Gonsalves told the bench that he fully understands what the bench was saying.

"Please understand what I am saying. Please understand the suffering of the people, the senior advocate said, adding, I wanted your lordships to please hear what I am saying," he said.

To this, the bench said, "We are hearing you fully".

The bench said rehabilitation will be for those who would be found eligible for it.

The apex court said it is examining all the aspects, including the immediate pressing needs, and temporary has to be by very nature something which is not permanent.

"It is not as if we are going to provide colony or resettlement at that very place. Then what was the purpose of removal of these unauthorised constructions," the bench observed.

It said the administration has to be permitted to do things in a structured manner.

The bench said as per the report, somebody else could come and say he or she will distribute food there.

"Now, who is going to check that. Who is going to look after this, the bench observed, adding, We cannot allow this to become that kind of a philanthropy and charity is not to be done by anybody like this. State will be responsible if any untoward thing happen there," it said.

During the hearing, when senior advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for some of the petitioners, asked whether he was audible, the bench said, "Yes. Your colleague said we are not hearing you. Now, therefore we stopped speaking. Now, you say are you audible to test our voice."

"You cannot say that you hear us. We have been doing this for last so many dates. We are also conscious of humanity. It is not the forte of only few," the bench observed.

The counsel appearing for the municipal corporation said that fresh and hygienic food is being provided at the temporary accommodation there and they are giving Rs 2,000 per family per month for at least six months.

During the hearing, the bench also heard submissions advanced by advocate Mathews J Nedumpara, who appeared for some intervenors, and said that no one can be evicted without following the due process of law.

The bench, which posted the matter for further hearing on September 13, rejected his submissions that directions given earlier by the court in the matter were flawed .

It asked the municipal corporation to indicate the timeline required for rehabilitating eligible persons.

It also observed that it will hold somebody responsible for the situation which led to mushrooming of the area into slums or rather unauthorised constructions.

"We will have to hold somebody responsible for the situation. In the first place, the mushrooming of this area into slums or rather unauthorised structures, whatever you may call, and then action not being taken despite the court orders," the bench said.

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.

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