SC rebukes Haryana for law on building in forest areas

SC rebukes Haryana for law on building in forest areas

The Supreme Court. DH file photo

The Supreme Court on Friday castigated the Haryana government for passing a law allowing constructions in estimated 60,000 acres of forest areas of Aravali and Shivalik range, saying “it is really shocking and in sheer contempt of court”.

“What do you think if the legislature is supreme. No, law is supreme in the country. You are not above law. You are destroying the forest. It is not permissible,” a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said.

The bench said since the Punjab Land Preservation (Haryana Amendment) Act, 2019 has been passed by the Haryana Assembly on Wednesday, we are not stopping its promulgation.

“But no action should taken under the aforesaid Amendment Act,” the bench directed Haryana counsel Anil Grover, adding the state forest can't be destroyed like this.

The court was furious after it was pointed out by senior advocate Ranjit Kumar and advocate A D N Rao that the state had gone ahead with the amendment, though the apex court was seized up the matter.

The Amendment Act has sought to overturn the ban imposed on constructions in ecologically-fragile Aravali and Shivalik range of forest.

“What kind of temerity is this? It was in sheer contempt of court,” the bench further asked.

Notably, the Amendment Act, while throwing open thousands of acres for constructions, has provided sanction to unauthorised structures that have come up in the forest areas since 1966.