SC asks Haryana to pay Rs50 lakh each to 33 home owners

SC asks Haryana to pay Rs50 lakh each to 33 home owners

New Delhi: A view of Supreme Court of India in New Delhi, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. PTI Photo. 

The Supreme Court Wednesday directed the Haryana government to pay Rs 50 lakh each to 33 house owners, whose buildings were directed to be demolished by year-end due to illegal constructions in forest area of Aravalli hills.

A bench comprising justices Madan B Lokur, S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta said the state should make the payment by December 10.

On September 11, the top 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 Department of Haryana, despite the reservations of Forest Department.

During the hearing on Wednesday, the counsel appearing for Haryana told the court that payment would be made to these house owners and thereafter, they would be issued notice to vacate their premises within seven days so that the demolition work could be carried out in terms of the court's order.

"We direct the state of Haryana to pay Rs 50 lakh to each 33 house owners on or before December 10, 2018," the bench said.

The counsel appearing for the house owners told the court that demolition of their properties should be stayed as they were retired persons and have no alternative accommodation.

"We have no place to go. Please give us time till April," one of the lawyers said, adding, "The citizens are not at fault. It was the connivance between the builder and the government officials. Please give us extension of reasonable time."

The bench posted the matter for further hearing on December 11.

In its September 11 order, the apex court had lashed out at the 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.