Written by: Riya Ganguly (Intern)
Edited by: Anubhav Yadav (Content Head & Developer)
Case Name: Municipal Corporation Faridabad V. Khori Gaon Residents Welfare Association (Regd.) Through its President & Ors.
The Division Bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari observed that after the demolition of structures planned by Municipal Corporation at Khori Gaon is done; such action by the Municipal Corporation will be verified by the court through an independent source. The court further observed that if the actions of the Municipal were not duly complied with the court’s previous order, then the court will hold the due person responsible, in the face of mushrooming slums and unauthorized encroachment.
In the present case, the defense counsel submitted an affidavit disclosing the details about the nature of temporary arrangement consisting of food, shelter and other basic amenities made in respect of persons affected due to demolition of unauthorized structures standing on the forest land.
The petitioners contended that no basic facilities were being made available to displaced citizen, for which they submitted an exhaustive report prepared by a group of lawyers and social workers who visited Khori Gaon to examine the situation of rehabilitation. The key observation noted were:
- The temporary shelters provided to the residents were ill managed and insufficient in quantity to accommodate all the displaced people.
- The food is made available only once a day which too is insufficient to feed all the families
- Toilets are un-cleaned and some are even not functional, drinking water is unavailable, electricity is unconnected.
- People who were interviewed said they were asked to leave immediately after being given the meal. There is no temporary shelter for anybody.
Instead of going into this debatable factual proposition pertaining to the basic facilities being made available to citizens, the court called upon the Municipal Corporation to provide a systematic timeline for their rehabilitation. The court made certain suggestions in this regard, response to which could be given by the corporation on the next date of hearing.
Further, the court granted only two weeks time to the State of Haryana and its forest department, in contrast to the request of defense counsel seeking four weeks time, to complete the process of notification of land forest area, propounding the rationale that the forest area was already a known area and was notified long back and hence should not take much time to identify such area.
One of the issues raised by the counsel appearing for the intervenors contended that the land on which structures belonging to the applicants were standing was not a forest land. Since the constructions were not unauthorized, the structures should not be demolished. Due to the similarity of grievances arising in the past in which the court had directed the concerned authority to examine the claim and proceed in the matter accordance with law. Hence, in regards to this intervention, the court directed the authorities to do the needful and proceed as per the law.
The court adjourned the hearing of the matter till 14 September 2021.