The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Punjab government to take action against the illegal constructions that have come up in Bari Karoran village in SAS Nagar district and in adjoining areas and submit a compliance report within a month.
The directions came from the court’s division bench comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Arun Palli on Tuesday.
Members of the village panchayat had earlier moved the court, challenging the state government’s restrictions on the use of denotified land as a result of which they said about 50,000 houses had been denied basic civic amenities.
Karoran and Nada villages (under the same panchayat), located on the outskirts of Chandigarh, have a population of around 100,000 with 50,000 houses.
Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Puneet Bali submitted that on one hand the state government had failed to provide basic amenities such as sewerage, power and water to the existing structures in the area and on the other it was allowing illegal constructions to mushroom.
“Stop unabated and unauthorised construction. If you do that, a larger part of the problem is solved,” Kaul told the Punjab government’s counsel.
The court said: “The photographs placed on record by the petitioner clearly show how roads are being encroached upon and how garbage is being spilled all over.”
When the court was informed by the government’s counsel that the matter regarding the areas in question was pending before the Supreme Court and the (high) court should await its outcome, the court said: “But it does not stop authorities from taking action against constructions coming up on proposed roads and spilled garbage as seen in the photographs.”
The panchayat had also sought directions to the Punjab government to approve, after scrutiny, the building plans of the area’s inhabitants as per the 2021 final master plan of the Nayagaon notified area committee.
It was informed that once the central government had removed the land under question from the rest of the forest areas, the state government had no jurisdiction to impose any restrictions over the use of denotified land as it falls outside its legislative and executive domain.
The petitioner has challenged the state government’s notification issued on August 13, 2010.