In a major relief for the residents of Chandigarh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Friday stayed the ongoing removal of encroachments from the land abutting the residential houses in city after the Residents Welfare Association of Sector 19-C challenged the demolition drive which has been launched by the Municipal Corporation following orders of a High Court single bench.
The vacation bench of Justices Amit Rawal and Arun Kumar Tyagi in the order passed on Friday said, “Till the next date of hearing, the Chandigarh Administration/Municipal Corporation completes the task of preparation of the Draft Parking Policy and also the contemplated survey and removes the encroachment from the parking lots, the demolition drive shall not be undertaken.”
The case has been adjourned for hearing to April 25. However, the respondents have been asked to file reply, if any, within a period of two weeks.
The demolition drive was started initially in Sector 19 and was to be conducted in other areas. However, the stay order passed by the division bench has not made any specific mention regarding the stay being only with regard to Sector 19.
Sector 19-C RWA (Government Houses) in the petition argued that the MC and Chandigarh Administration have undertaken the demolition drive in pursuance to the single bench order but without taking into consideration the fact that the Draft Parking Policy is still under process.
Advocate Gaurav Rana, counsel for the petitioner, argued in the court that the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation have not carried out any survey as was undertaken before the court and no individual notices were issued to the residents.
“But by causing a publication in newspaper, the residents were fore-warned regarding alleged encroachments. Even the notice does not stipulate the nature and exact extent of encroachments, thus expression ‘encroachment’ remains a mystery,” he argued.
The bench after the submission called upon advocate Pankaj Jain, Senior Standing Counsel for UT, and asked him to tell the court whether the survey as indicated in the order has been completed. Jain, according to the order, on instructions from the department, informed the court that the survey is still underway. The Draft Parking Policy is also still pending, he told the court.
Jain submitted that the demolition drive is being conducted in accordance with a single bench order.
However, the bench after hearing the arguments said, “We are sanguine of the fact that Chandigarh Administration in order to remove the encroachment shall endeavour to undertake the task of completion of Draft Parking Policy as early as possible”.