1. High Court deplores encroachments in Delhi, says it is a criminal act

High Court deplores encroachments in Delhi, says it is a criminal act

"What we have done to this city is a criminal act," an anguished Delhi High Court has said while strongly deploring alleged encroachments of forest land in Neb Sarai village in south Delhi.

By: | New Delhi | Published: August 13, 2017 10:43 AM
high court, encroachments in delhi, Neb Sarai village, Supreme Court , Delhi government, Delhi government forest department The strong remarks came during hearing of an application by a Neb Sarai-based couple who have urged the court to direct the Delhi government’s forest department to provide space for entry and exit from their house. (PTI)

“What we have done to this city is a criminal act,” an anguished Delhi High Court has said while strongly deploring alleged encroachments of forest land in Neb Sarai village in south Delhi. A bench, headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal, said that no encroachments could be permitted in the ridge areas of the national capital as these were primary “natural features”. It said it was shocking that forest land fell prey to illegal constructions and encroachments. “What we have done to this city is a criminal act. Delhi has become a mess,” the bench observed.

The strong remarks came during hearing of an application by a Neb Sarai-based couple who have urged the court to direct the Delhi government’s forest department to provide space for entry and exit from their house. They have said that a boundary wall constructed near their house to protect the forest area, has obstructed access to their flat.

The duo have submitted that the space near their house did not come under forest area and if the court found it to the contrary, then they would willingly hand over the possession of the land in front of their house which has been allegedly encroached by the family. “At least for the time being, entry and exit be allowed to them,” their counsel has submitted.

The bench, in an interim order, has asked the forest department to give then couple five feet of space for entry and exit. It, however, has made clear that this right was not open to other residents of the area. The bench has observed that the law laid down by the Supreme Court as well as the statutory mandate have to be strictly complied with and should “brook no breach”.

“Directions to this effect were passed in 1980 by the Supreme Court in several orders,” it has said, adding that “this order has to be strictly complied with”. “The forest land cannot be converted into a thoroughfare which is clearly beyond planned development under the Master Plan,” it has said.

The court had earlier ordered construction of a boundary wall on a PIL by Delhi-resident Deepak Batra, who has sought a direction against alleged encroachments in forest areas near Neb Sarai in Indira Enclave. The petitioner had placed before the court the April 1966 notification issued by the revenue department of the Delhi government declaring the uncultivated land of the ‘gaon sabha’ as a ridge area.

The counsel had also said that the lieutenant governor of Delhi in 1994 had declared such land as reserved forest.
The petition has sought blocking of a road constructed in the forest area to provide access for emergency vehicles to reach Indira Enclave, an unauthorised colony, close to the posh Sainik Farms area which too has been in news over alleged illegal constructions there.

The court had said, “This is more so in view of the imperative need for addressing environmental concerns on a war footing given the adverse impact of global warming.”

  1. S
    Sukhvinder Singh
    Aug 15, 2017 at 12:37 pm
    Honorable High court is very right to grant permission for entry and exit through road which exists from last more than 30 years and this is just one road which is life line for residents. Other all roads have been already blocked by Forest department means blocking it, making these residents land locked. Not only this, this road is most probably not belong to forest. If someone wants this road to be blocked only due to the fact that vehicle should not pass through in front of his or her house then this is not true sense of democracy. In fact Residents of this area are very concerned about forest protection and want that Wall may be made other side of the road which will protect the forest and solve the same purpose even more than that.
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