August 4, 2021 2:55:53 pm
The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the Haryana government to expedite its decision on the rehabilitation policy drawn up by the Faridabad Municipal Corporation for people who had been displaced following the demolition of encroachments in the Aravalli forest region in Lakkadpur-Khori village area.
A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwati took note of the submission by the Corporation counsel that the draft rehabilitation policy had already been submitted to the government and ordered “that consideration be expedited by the State Government and final decision be taken preferably before the next date of hearing”.
The court also asked the Commissioner dealing with the aspect of rehabilitation to submit a status report. “To assuage the grievances of the locals” as regards the rehabilitation measures, the bench also directed that “the Commissioner may specify an e-mail address for online correspondence and also consider…setting up back-up office in the Radha Swaomi Complex, where the concerned persons have been provided temporary food, shelter and accommodation”.
Appearing for some of the displaced residents, Senior Advocate Sanjay Parikh said authorities were now asking for valid electricity connection bills and other identities for rehabilitation.
The bench said that they can challenge the policy once it’s final. “Let the final decision be taken. that policy can be challenged by you and its justness can be tested here”.
Parikh added that almost 90 percent of the settlement had been demolished but only 50 percent of the people could be accommodated in the Satsang located nearby.
Bharadwaj pointed out that there were sleeping beds and toilet facilities. He added that a significant number were on rent and may have moved to their homes or those of kin. He added that there were also covid-19 testing labs and that trucks have been arranged to remove the debris so that any removable items can be returned back to the owners. He added that the corporation will file a completion certificate soon.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for some other building owners in the area said the corporation officials had come knocking on their doors for demolition. The SC had on the last date of hearing underlined that all unauthorised structures on forest land, including farm houses etc if any, will have to be removed.
He said the owners used to host marriages there but the National Green Tribunal had prevented them from doing but this order was stayed by the SC.
The court said the applicants can submit material to prove their case before the competent authority, which has issued notice for removal of allegedly unauthorized structures, “by tomorrow i.e., 4th August, 2021 by 12.00 noon, which can be considered by the authority appropriately”.
“If the competent authority is of the firm opinion formed on the basis of official record that the concerned structures, referred to in the show cause notice issued to the applicants, are standing on the forest land, the competent authority would be free to proceed in the matter in accordance with the directions already issued earlier by this Court…”, it added.
The court will now hear the matter on August 25.
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