Supreme Court orders removal of encroachments in Aravali forest land

Supreme Court of India. File.

Supreme Court of India. File.

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Haryana government and the Faridabad Municipal Corporation to take “all essential measures” to remove encroachments, including about 10,000 residential constructions, in the ecologically fragile Aravali forest land near Lakarpur Khori village.

A Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar dismissed the argument by the residents that they should be rehabilitated first, saying “land-grabbers cannot take the refuge of the rule of law” and demand fairness.

“We expect the Corporation will take all essential measures to remove encroachments on the subject forest land without any exception, not later than six weeks from today and submit a compliance report in that behalf, under the signature of the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation,” the court directed.

Similarly, the Secretary of the Forest Department was ordered to verify the factual situation of encroachments on the forest land and submit an independent compliance report under his signature.

‘Submit certificates in 6 weeks’

“After those certificates are submitted within six weeks, the court may consider of passing further directions, including regarding due verification of factual statement recorded in the certificates through an independent agency,” the Bench observed.

The court said the encroachers should be evicted even by force. “The State in general and the local police in particular, shall give necessary and adequate logistical support to enable the Corporation to implement the directions given by us to evict the occupants/encroachers including by forcible eviction from the forest land and to clear all the encroachments.”

‘SP personally responsible’

The court made the Faridabad Superintendent of Police personally responsible for ensuring adequate logistical support and police protection to the officials of the Corporation.

“We further make it clear that the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation and the Secretary of the Forest Department shall be personally responsible to oversee the implementation of the directions given in this order and submit their compliance report(s) within six weeks,” it said.

The case was listed again on July 27.

During the hearing, the court told senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, for the petitioners, to advise his clients to vacate the land on their own.

“When you come here, you speak of rule of law. Is this rule of law? You grab forest land and then you ask a policy to be formulated,” the Bench asked the petitioners’ side.

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Printable version | Jun 27, 2022 2:14:31 pm |