In a major relief to residents of farmhouses and residential colonies allegedly built on forest land in Faridabad’s Aravali Hills, the Supreme Court has stayed the demolition of all such constructions till final disposal of the case.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan ordered “status quo as on date” after senior advocate Harish Salve, assisting the court as amicus curiae (court’s friend), said there should not be any demolition in residential areas under Aravali Hills.
Salve said the Haryana government was using the court-appointed Central Empowered Committee’s (CEC) report to demolish farmhouses and other residential areas and policemen had visited house-owners in some areas .
Residents of colonies like Kant Enclave, part of Lake Wood and acres of Ken Wood Mercantile Private Limited, numerous farmhouses, banquet halls and buildings in the region, facing threat from bulldozers, can heave a sigh of relief after Friday’s order giving interim protection to all such constructions. They had been crying foul over the CEC’s recommendations for almost a month.
The status quo order also means there cannot any further unauthorised construction and illegal mining in Aravali Hills.
Citing the depleting water table in the Aravali Hills, the CEC had last month recommended demolition of farmhouses, banquet halls and residential buildings, allegedly built on forest land.
Referring to the CEC’s report Salve said: “We don’t think it’s practical.” The court too observed that demolition might not be a practical solution to the problem.
The court also agreed to de-link the issues of illegal construction and illegal mining in the area after senior advocate Soli Sorabjee said hearing both the issues together would complicate the matter. Salve supported Sorabjee’s submission.
Observing that it would like to lay down broader principles for adjudication of the issue first, the court fixed March 18 for further hearing.
Appearing for the residents, senior advocate Arun Jaitley said the residents have already filed their response to the CEC’s report and if anybody wanted to file any rejoinder to it, they should do so before the next date.
The court was told that the CEC’s report about illegal constructions in Gurgaon would be filed soon.