The High Court has rejected a plea by a farmers’ society seeking to restrain the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) from taking over a large tract of land on the Yamuna riverbank.
The court said the society has not been “able to establish any semblance of right on the property”.
Justice Subramonium Prasad called the plea filed by Yamuna Bank Kishan Bachao Morcha a “mischievous petition”, noting that “other than making a bald assertion that they are in possession of the area for the last 100 years, there is no document on record to establish the possession”.
100 years claim
The petitioner society said its members are farmers who are living on the banks of the Yamuna for over the last 100 years and cultivating about 15,000 bighas of land. It said the members have proof of ‘lagaan (tax)’ being paid by their forefathers from 1932 to 2012. The farmers grow radish, brinjal, potato, onion, and other vegetables on the land and pay money to the Delhi Peasants Co-Operative Multipurpose Society Limited.
The petitioner stated that on November 08, 2020, DDA officials gathered at their land on the riverbanks for evicting them. The officials went with excavators and were accompanied by a police team and two battalions of CRPF and BSF.
The High Court, however, rejected the plea saying that the society has “cleverly not mentioned the place where they are carrying out their activities”. The court also pointed out that the National Green Tribunal had on September 11, 2019 directed that a bio-diversity park be built in the area in order to cleanse the Yamuna.
The DDA said that it has been entrusted with an affirmative duty to protect the river Yamuna, its morphology and its flood plains and keep the Yamuna floodplains encroachment free, so it undertakes regular demolition and removal.
No specific information
Advocate Prabhsahay Kaur, standing counsel for the DDA, said the entire floodplains of Yamuna is about 52 to 56 km, covering an area of 1,267 hectares but the society has not given any specific area.
She added that the society’s petition was an abuse of the process of law as its members had given an undertaking to the Supreme Court that they will vacate the land.
Taking note of the submission, Justice Prasad said, “since the records show that the members of the petitioner/society are in unlawful occupation, the relief for compensation on the ground of DDA damaging the crop is not maintainable”.
“This writ petition is nothing but an abuse of the process of law and another attempt by the members of the petitioner society to cling on to the land while they have already been held to be unauthorised occupants and encroachers,” he added while dismissing the plea.