Thursday, April 18, 2024

Supreme Court denies passing any order to stay eviction of persons living on forest land in Khori Gaon

The Supreme court said if the petitioners fulfill the criteria of getting protection and relief, they will eventually get that relief according to the policy framed in 2003 by the Corporation

The Supreme Court today denied passing any order of stay the eviction of persons living on the Forest land in Khori Gaon settlement at Faridabad, Haryana and ordered that Faridabad Municipal Corporation demolished all illegal construction over the said land without any exception.

The Bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari held that if the petitioners fulfill the criteria of getting protection and relief, they will eventually get that relief according to the policy framed in 2003 by the Corporation.

“As the corporation has already drafted the policy related to how they rehabilitate the petitioner, we direct the corporation to issue notification of the final policy no later than July 31. And if the policy formulated in this regard is not acceptable to the petitioners, it may be challenged by way of the application,” the Court further held.

The present petitions were filed, seeking stay on demolition of more than 10,000 houses comprising over one lakh people at Khori Gaon, Faridabad, Haryana, while following rehabilitation procedure and to provide temporary shelter to the evicted slum dwellers in view of the ongoing covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown imposed by the Haryana Government to contain the spread of disease.

Counsel for the corporation Arun Bhardwaj, AAG Haryana appearing on behalf of the Municipal Corporation Faridabad, filed its status report. He said, “We have done several meetings and sent notices to the petitioners to vacate the premises and leave in compliance with the June 7 order of the court.

He further submitted that in compliance of the said order, “We have successfully vacated 74 acres out of 150 acres.” He prayed to the court to grant three weeks further time to complete the whole process of vacating. The Court has granted four weeks time to vacate the remaining land.

“We have supplied all the necessities required to the corporation,” submitted Advocate Ruchi Kohli, on behalf of the state.

Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves prayed before the court that it is necessary to rehabilitate the persons living there before demolition done by the state or corporation. He further submitted that on the forest land, there were also illegal constructions of the Farm Houses, Hotels, Commercial establishments and Ashrams.

Mr Gonsalves submitted that the persons living there after demolition and eviction will come on roads. These families have pregnant mothers, children and old aged persons and it is the duty of the state to rehabilitate the persons, not just throwing them on roads.

In a connected matter where Senior Advocate KTS Tulsi had appeared on behalf of the petitioners, submitted that the rehabilitation of the petitioners needs to be done expeditiously as it is the rainy season and the pandemic is still not over.

The Court assured him of the same, as the direction regarding the same has already been passed in the earlier connected matter.

Further in another connected matter, Advocate Sanjat Parikh appeared on behalf of the petitioners and submitted that there are some persons, who came there about 40-50 years back for the purpose of mining and they were offered small pieces of land.

The Court asked Mr Parikh to give the list of persons to Mr Bhardwaj.

Advocate Meenakshi Arora also appeared on behalf of another petitioner that there must be some notice to the occupants, whose homes are going to be demolished, so that they can get the opportunity to get themselves alternative shelter and in case the occupant has no other means, this must be the responsibility of the corporation to provide some other place to the families to move.

Mr. Bhardwaj countered the argument made by the Counsel of the petitioner and submitted before the Court that we need some privacy in our operation as it is not easy when we go there. We cannot give them any prior notice or circulate any schedule related to when and which portion we are going to vacate.

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After going to all the contentions made by the parties of all the connected matters, the Court has held that in regard to the alternative place for the occupants, the corporation has already made that arrangement and already submitted before the Court through its affidavit.

The Court further held that the petitioner can approach the commissioner for alternate accommodation before the demolition work begins and suitable directions can be issued by the commissioner.

The Court, however, made it clear that the fact that alternative shelter offered to the applicant is not acceptable to such a person can be no reason to delay the demolition of the structure. The matter will be heard again on August 3 at 1530 hrs.


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