The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Haryana government to demolish any construction made in Faridabad’s Kant Enclave after August 18, 1992, saying they were built on forest land, reported The Indian Express.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said the actions of R Kant & Co, which carried out construction in the area, and Haryana Town and Country Planning Department, which allowed it, had caused “irreversible damage” to the Aravalli hills.
“The construction activity carried out by the applicant R Kant & Co is clearly in violation of the notification dated 18th August, 1992, and in blatant defiance of orders passed by this Court from time to time,” the court said, according to LiveLaw. “Unfortunately, the Town and Country Planning department of the state of Haryana has been supporting the illegalities of the applicant despite strong resistance from the Forest Department of the state.”
The court has set December 31 as the deadline to clear the land by demolishing the structures and imposed a Rs 5 crore fine on the company to be deposited within a month in the Aravali Rehabilitation Fund. It also directed the company to refund the money invested by people to purchase plots along with an interest of 18% per annum from the date of investment, and awarded a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to those who have constructed houses.
The area was developed by R Kant & Co after the Haryana government granted exemption in 1984 for the construction of a film studio and residential complex, reported The Times of India. The permission was later withdrawn as the company failed to comply with terms. In March 1992, the company was allowed to construct, after it signed an agreement with the state government that it will comply with all the terms, even though the area fell under ecologically sensitive zone.
The Supreme Court bench upheld the August 18, 1992, notification issued under the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900, prohibiting the clearing or breaking up of land not ordinarily under cultivation. “The extent of violation of the notification dated 18th August, 1992, is quite frightening and one can only imagine the phenomenal environmental and ecological damage caused to the area by the applicants,” the bench said.