Supreme Court: No unauthorized construction allowed in Aravali Forest

Aravali Forest green trees bush

Shivangi Prakash-

The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that no unauthorised structures, such as farmhouses, will be permitted on forest property, and gave the Faridabad Municipal Corporation four further weeks to remove encroachments in Aravali forest area near Khori village.

Unauthorized structures on nearly half of the area have already been removed, according to the civic body.

The Municipal Corporation’s counsel informed a bench consisting of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari that 74 acres out of 150 acres have been cleaned so far.

As senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing some petitioners, raised concerns about rehabilitation in light of a draft policy from the Municipal Corporation, the bench responded by saying that people can submit their suggestions to the Municipal Commissioner by Saturday, and they will be considered on a feasibility basis.

The policy shall be announced by the authority by July 31, according to the bench, and if petitioners find it unacceptable, they can contest it.

At this point, Gonsalves quoted an IAS officer’s RTI request, stating that a complete list of structures on forest land, including farmhouses and hotels, was provided in response.

To this, the bench said: “You can be rest assured that on forest land, no unauthorised constructions will be allowed to remain, be it farmhouses or others.”

 It emphasised that it shouldn’t be presumed that such illegal structures will not be removed by the corporation and reiterated that all unauthorised structures on forest land would have to be removed.

It stated that the order to remove unauthorised structures from forest property applies to all structures without exception, and that the corporation has begun taking action in earnest following its June 7 order.

As the civic body counsel submitted that three more weeks are required to clear all the unauthorised constructions on forest land, the bench said: “We accede to the request and grant four weeks further time from today for taking necessary steps in terms of the earlier order.”

A petitioner’s lawyer said that no shelter had been offered to the evicted households, and that in the midst of Covid and the monsoon, the authorities should have informed the families in advance before taking action. 

The Court noted that these matters might be brought to the Commissioner’s attention and set a hearing date for August 3rd.

Related Post