SC says continue demolition of 10,000 unapproved buildings in Aravali forest land

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to halt the demolition of about 10,000 unauthorised residential constructions encroaching into the ecologically fragile Aravali forest land near Lakarpur Khori village in Haryana.

A Bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari had refused to give the encroachers any quarter on June 7 while ordering the demolition. The court had categorically said that “land-grabbers cannot take the refuge of the rule of law” and demand fairness.

However, fresh petitions were filed, urging the court to revisit its order and provide for rehabilitation of the residents, including children. The petitioners, mostly residents, whose properties face the axe, said they were not given time to submit documents to the local authorities to prove their claim.

But the court refused to budge on Thursday. It said the residents had enough time to prove their claims in accordance with a notification issued by Haryana in 2020. The onus was on the State to rehabilitate the residents in compliance with a 2003 scheme. The demolition would continue.

“Petitioners were obligated to provide documents to come under the rehabilitation scheme, which they have failed to do. We have recorded the submission that clearance of unlawful encroachment on forest land will be carried out as per due process of law,” it stated.

Pelted with stones

The government said officials and personnel were pelted with stones at the site of demolition. However, the court declined to pass any orders while merely telling the authorities “you know what to do then”.

In its June 7 order, the court directed the Faridabad Municipal Corporation to “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”.

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

The court had made it clear that the encroachers should be evicted by the land 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,” it had directed.

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

The next hearing is scheduled on July 27.

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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 12:37:21 PM |

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