New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday asked two senior officers of Haryana, including its chief secretary, to examine the documents of 33 house owners whose buildings were directed to be demolished by the year-end due to illegal constructions in forest area of Aravalli hills.
A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur said that the chief secretary and the principal secretary of the town and country planning department of Haryana would look into the papers and documents regarding plots of land and construction made in Faridabad’s Kant Enclave by these 33 house owners.
The bench, which also comprised Justices Deepak Gupta and Hemant Gupta, asked the two officers to prepare a joint report by January 10 and said that the issue related to disbursement of money deposited by the Haryana government in the apex court registry would be taken up thereafter.
The court said these 33 house owners would vacate the premises by March 31 next year.
The counsel representing Haryana said they have deposited Rs 16.5 crore in the court registry in pursuance to November 28 order asking it to pay Rs 50 lakh each to 33 house owners.
The state’s counsel said there were 19 plots having two-storeyed building there while houses having ground and first floor were made in eight plots.
He said in several other plots, only boundary walls have been made.
The apex court, which had earlier expressed shock over disappearance of 31 hills in Aravalli area of Rajasthan, said now even temples were being destroyed in the area due to illegal mining.
“Now, God and Goddess are being destroyed. Forget about hills. It is coming in the newspapers. At some sacred place in the north-east, one has to take out shoes and here (Aravalli area) everything is vanishing,” the bench observed.
The state’s counsel said earlier the court was given a list of 33 buildings in Kant Enclave but according to them, there were 27 buildings and others were plots having boundary walls.
“We can request the chief secretary and principal secretary to sit down and give us a report on the basis of which the registry can give money (to house owners),” the bench said.
It said these two officers should look into the documents and arrive at a conclusion so as to safeguard the interest of house owners.
The bench has posted the matter for hearing in January.
On September 11, the apex court had termed as “frightening” the illegal constructions in the forest area of Aravalli hills and directed the Haryana government to demolish the unauthorised structures built there after August 18, 1992.
It had also said that flouting of law was “quite apparent” in the case but what was more “unfortunate” was the support given by the town and country planning department of Haryana, despite the reservations of forest department.
In its September 11 order, the apex court had lashed out at Haryana government and said that the construction activity carried out by R Kant and Company, a private realtor who was a party to the case, was clearly in violation of the August 18, 1992 notification and also in blatant defiance of the court’s orders.
The 1992 notification issued under the provisions of the Punjab Land Preservation (PLP) Act had prohibited clearing or breaking up of land not ordinarily under cultivation.
Permission to break the land for cultivation could be permitted by the Divisional Forest Officer of Faridabad Forest Division, the notification had said, adding that in any event construction activity could not be permitted even by the Divisional Forest Officer.