No compromise with encroachment on forest land: SC on eviction of 10K from Aravallis

New Delhi (IANS)┬áThe Supreme Court on Monday ordered eviction of around 10,000 residential constructions, which had come up in Haryana’s Lakkadpur-Khori village in the Aravalli Forest area.

A bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari said: “We had passed an interim order in February 2020 since it was an encroachment of forest land, and it has to be vacated.”

The bench noted that it will ask the Faridabad Municipal Corporation, why after its February order, the encroachments were not removed till June 2021.

The bench said as far as forest land was concerned there cannot be any compromise irrespective of policy, or whether the state wants to accommodate them it’s up to them.

The bench queried counsel, representing the municipal corporation, why its order on removal of encroachments on forest lands has not been complied to till date?

The counsel submitted that people in the area were trying to encroach further. The bench reiterated that no concession can be granted in connection with encroachment on the forest land.

The top court was hearing a plea filed on behalf of residents of Khori Gaon Basti in Faridabad, Haryana, seeking an immediate stay on the proposed demolition of about 10,000 houses in the area.

The plea challenged the Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran Rehabilitation Policy, which limits the cut off for rehabilitation to 2003.

The bench told senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing the petitioners, vacate the premise on your own so that corporation does not have to spend on evicting you, and if you want your petition to be considered, be a law-abiding citizen.

The bench noted “land grabbers can’t take refuge of rule of law”, and directed the state government to provide logistical support to evict the people from forest land and clear all encroachments.

Gonsalves contended that there should be a reasonable cut-off date, and this is the worst cut-off date. The bench replied that in 2020, it had made it clear corporation must clear the forest land. “You should have vacated on your own”, noted the bench.

Gonsalves said during Covid pandemic, people will be scattered and insisted residents were poor people.

The bench insisted that people should vacate the forest land peacefully . “”Sorry, we are saying sorry plainly……there will be some other grabbing of the forest land. First land has to be free.. This is about forest land, and this is more important”, the bench replied to the petitioners’ counsel seeking stay on eviction.

The bench said the corporation should remove all encroachments on the forest land not later than six weeks and report compliance under the signature of chief secretary and secretary of Haryana Forest Department.

The top court has posted the matter for further hearing on July 27.

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