Khori Gaon demolition: SC says somebody has to be held responsible for happenings

File.   | Photo Credit: S. SUBRAMANIUM

The Supreme Court on Monday said it intended to hold somebody responsible for the series of events that led to the demolition of unauthorised residential buildings constructed on forest land in Khori Gaon village in Haryana and displacement of hundreds of families who lived there.

Also Read: ‘Reply to report on poor conditions of those displaced from Khori Gaon’

“The mushrooming of the forest area into slums, action not being taken despite court orders... We will have to hold somebody responsible for all of this,” Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, heading a Special Bench, addressed the State government and the Faridabad Municipal Corporation.

The court disagreed with the submission made by the government, represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, that identification of forest and non-forest areas in the locality in question would take long because of the expanse of the land in question. It said forest areas across the country were already identified and notified. “It should not take time to identify the area,” it observed.

Tug of war

The Bench said it did not want to get into the tug of war between residents and the municipal body on the temporary facilities provided to the former. It made it clear that its primary focus was on the rehabilitation of eligible people who lost their homes to the demolition. “Instead of going into this debate, we have called upon the counsel for the Faridabad Municipal Corporation to tell us the time required to rehabilitate the eligible people,” it noted.

The municipal body has sought time to provide the court with the rehabilitation scheme and the timeline. It has filed an affidavit rejecting submissions made in court by residents that the displaced have not been given proper temporary shelters, food, water and other basic amenities.

The local body was responding to a field report prepared by researcher Manju Menon and advocate Srishti Agnihotri that the displaced people were living in tin sheds with mud floor with hardly any privacy.

Poor facilities: report

The report had submitted that the facilities in the temporary shelter provided at the Radha Swami Satsang community centre were “woefully inadequate”.

“The temporary shelter facility is a shed, which is completely exposed to the elements, with a mud floor, and no partition for privacy for women and lactating mothers. It further has no space for families to carry and store their belongings, which were left in the open after their homes were demolished. These are belongings that the petitioners and their families have bought after years of saving every rupee,” senior advocate Sanjay Parikh had quoted from the report in the previous hearing.

He had said the people should be provided with basic requirements- protection from the elements and privacy for women.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 9:47:39 PM |

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