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What is the case

  • The Supreme Court on Monday ordered Haryana and the Faridabad municipal corporation to remove "all encroachments" in the Aravali forest region near a village, claiming that "land grabbers cannot seek refuge in the rule of law" and talk of "fairness."
  • After eliminating all encroachments from a forest area near Lakarpur Khori village in Faridabad district within six weeks, a vacation bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari demanded a compliance report from state government officials.
  • “The petitioners are bound, in our opinion, by the directions given by the High Court (of Punjab and Haryana) and reiterated by this Court in an order dated February 19, 2020, and again on April 5, 2021, in another proceeding pending before this court with regard to the same subject matter,” the bench said.

Details of the case

  • It stated that the state and local police will provide the necessary logistical support to enable the corporation to carry out the court's orders to evict the occupants/encroachers from the subject forest area, including by forcible eviction, and to clear all encroachments.
  • According to the document, the Superintendent of Police, Faridabad, will be personally responsible for providing necessary logistical support and police security to company executives.
  • The bench took note of the contention that unlawful occupants have nowhere to go and that the state is directed to rehabilitate them before their removal, noting that land grabbers cannot seek refuge in the rule of law and talk about fairness.
  • Senior counsel Colin Gonsalves, who is representing the petitioners, stated that the people should be accommodated as soon as they are evicted.

Court’s Observation

  • We reiterate our instructions to the corporation as well as the state of Haryana, as stated in the stated orders of this court, and expect the corporation to take all necessary steps to remove encroachments on the subject forest land, without exception, no later than six weeks from today, and submit a compliance report in that regard, signed by the Chief Executive Officer.
  • After hearing a petition from five suspected encroachers opposing the civic body's demolition drive, the Highest Court issued the judgement.
  • The bench stated that the remedy sought by petitioners in the plea can be considered dehors compliance with earlier orders issued by this court on February 19, 2020, and April 5, 2021, respectively.
  • It also said that the secretary of the state forest department is responsible for verifying the facts surrounding encroachments on the subject forest area and submitting an independent compliance report under his signature.
  • We also make it clear that the corporation's Chief Executive Officer and the Secretary of the Forest Department will be personally responsible for overseeing the implementation of the directions in this order and submitting their compliance report(s) within six weeks, it said, setting July 27 as the deadline.
  • The Court instructed Gonsalves to counsel petitioners to evacuate the property on their own; otherwise, the state and the municipal corporation will remove the land. When you say rule of law, Gonsalves, do you mean this rule of law? The bench stated that you take forest land and then seek for a policy to be developed.
  • The bench stated that it was not dismissing the petition but rather keeping it pending in order to ensure that its ruling was followed. The Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran Rehabilitation Policy, which limits the cut-off for rehabilitation to 2003, has been challenged in the suit filed by attorney Satya Mitra. It has also requested a stay on the demolition of nearly 10,000 dwellings in Haryana's Khori Gaon.

What do you think of the case?

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