Forest land: Haryana expresses inability to implement SC order to demolish structures

Such an exercise could create a serious and unparalleled law-and-order problem, says state government

Forest land: Haryana expresses inability to implement SC order to demolish structures

A marriage palace being demolished in Aravali belt. Tribune file

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 23

The Haryana Government has expressed its inability to implement the Supreme Court’s order to demolish structures erected on forest land in the Aravalis, saying the task was beyond its capacity.

In an affidavit filed in the top court, the Haryana Government said such an exercise could create a serious and unparalleled law-and-order problem.

It said if all structures were to be removed from “forest land” in terms of a 2018 verdict of the court and the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) 1900, it would lead to a mammoth demolition of buildings, schools, colleges, government offices and residential buildings in 11 districts, which includes all of Gurugram and Faridabad as almost 40 per cent of land in the state was considered to be forest land.

In 2018, in the case of Kant Enclave, Faridabad, the top court had said land notified by Haryana under provisions of PLPA must be treated as ‘forest’ and ‘forest land’. However, the state has chosen to take a different view. It said the land notified under PLPA was for the purpose of conserving and restoring erosion of soil, and was applicable for only a limited period.

The Haryana Government said the state assembly passed an amendment to the PLPA in 2019 to validate the development activities undertaken by both Government and private individuals and remedy the situation, else it would have adversely impacted the livelihood of millions of citizens.

Refusing to stay the ongoing eviction drive, a Bench led by Justice AM Khanwilkar had on July 23 said all illegal structures belonging to the poor or the rich built on Aravali forest land near Khori village in Faridabad, Haryana must be removed. Many of those affected are before the court.

Senior counsel Arun Bhardwaj – who represented Haryana Government – said the top court would take up the matter on November 15.

The Haryana Government has submitted that “The demolition required is on a massive scale and beyond the capacity of the state government and is bound to create serious and unparalleled law and order problems.”

It also talked about constitutional rights of the people to such land, particularly where construction had been undertaken after taking requisite approvals.

Tribune Shorts


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