HC raps officers for illegal demolitions near Chandigarh airport
The court observed that expansion of airport is important but legal rights of people can’t be violated.Updated: Oct 17, 2018 10:37 IST
The Punjab and Haryana high court has categorically told senior officers of Punjab and Chandigarh to carry out demolition drive in the vicinity of the international airport according to law or they will be made to pay for reconstruction of the property razed illegally.
The observations were made by the high court (HC) bench of chief justice Krishna Murari and justice Arun Palli during resumed hearing of a 2015 petition on poor infrastructure at the airport and fresh pleas challenging demolition notices slapped by Chandigarh and Mohali administrations.
As court resumed its work for the day, a petition of residents of Behlana village in Chandigarh came up for hearing. It challenged demolition notices slapped by the Chandigarh administration citing HC orders. The petitioners said there was no such court order.
Following this, the bench summoned the Chandigarh deputy commissioner and hearing was deferred till afternoon. Later, UT’s senior standing counsel Suvir Sehgal admitted the mistake and told court that fresh notices will be issued to villagers by amending the mistake.
The notices are being issued by Mohali and Chandigarh administrations in the wake of high court order banning construction within 100 metres of the airport after objections by the Indian Air Force.
‘Legal rights can’t be violated’
The court was also told that last Saturday, the Zirakpur municipal council issued notices of demolition under the Works of Defence Act, 1903, while it has no such powers. Demolition, if necessary, has to be done with the orders of the deputy commissioner.
The court observed that expansion of airport is important but legal rights of people can’t be violated. The previous order clearly says that the authorities should act in accordance with the law; then how did this happen, the bench questioned.
“We will make officers to pay from their own pockets (if illegal demolitions come to light). We are making this loud and clear,” the bench said. It further added that earlier the authorities were sitting with eyes closed and have now suddenly woken up after the HC took cognisance of the matter.
Meanwhile, the Zirakpur MC submitted that nine structures have been demolished and notices have been issued to 266 of the 346 identified as illegal. The civic body demanded time to take action and admitted that it was facing a lot of heat due to pressure from court and residents.
The court clarified that the exercise should be done lawfully and not even an inch, which is legal, should be demolished.
First Published: Oct 17, 2018 10:37 IST