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Delhi High Court Orders Demolition Of Road Passing Through Forest In Sainik Farms [Read Judgment]

Live Law News Network
28 Jan 2018 5:55 AM GMT
Delhi High Court Orders Demolition Of Road Passing Through Forest In Sainik Farms [Read Judgment]
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The Delhi High Court has ordered the demolition of the road which connects Sainik Farms with Indira Enclave, noting that the same passes through a forest. The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar also ordered completion of a boundary/fencing of the forest, in compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court of India, in the case of MC Mehta v. Union of India, W.P.(C) No. 4677/1985.

It observed, "Clearly the private parties are illegally obstructing the authorities from completing the barricading. The private parties as well as the respondents are bound to comply with the directions made by the Supreme Court of India, the National Green Tribunal, this court as well as law to forthwith stop non-forest usage of the land and not to obstruct the barricading of the entire forest area. It is not open to any person to oppose the fencing and the protection of the forest by constructing the boundary wall. In fact, failure of the authorities to do so would be in the teeth of the orders of the Supreme Court and this court. The maintenance of the illegal encroachments, the constructions in the forest and non-forest usage is illegal and in violation of specific judicial orders in this regard. Given the huge pressure on the subject land and efforts of encroachment, it is essential that the barricading is completed at the earliest."

The Court noted that the land on which said road was made was forest land and non-forest usage was violative of specific orders passed by the Supreme Court in MC Mehta’s case, as well as the orders of the National Green Tribunal in the case of Pavit Singh v. State of NCT of Delhi & Ors., previous orders of the Delhi High Court and the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 itself.

The bench held, “The private parties are illegally obstructing the authorities from completing the barricading. The private parties as well as the respondents are bound to comply with the directions  made by the Supreme Court of India, the National Green Tribunal, this court as well as law to forthwith stop non-forest usage of the land and not to obstruct the barricading of the entire forest area. It is not open to any person to oppose the fencing and the protection of the forest by constructing the boundary wall. In fact, failure of the authorities to do so would be in the teeth of the orders of the Supreme Court and this court. The maintenance of the illegal encroachments, the constructions in the forest and non-forest usage is illegal and in violation of specific judicial orders in this regard. Given the huge pressure on the subject land and efforts of encroachment, it is essential that the barricading is completed at the earliest.”

Further, the Court rejected the submission put forth by the Indira Colony residents that the usage of the road was in the nature of an easement on the ground that the road was constructed in 2013 and that it had not been in use for the statutorily prescribed period of 30 years to qualify as an easementary right.

Heavy reliance was placed by the bench on the imminent need to protect the environment and the Constitutional mandate under Articles 48A and Articles 51A(g). The bench noted,“Forests are indubitably a national asset. It is no secret that diminution thereof has adversely disbalanced ecology and induced a deleterious impact on the climate. …We are compelled to comment on the manner in which an attempt has been made by citizens to mindlessly transgress on the environment for private utility…The citizenry has still not been alive to the fact that courts have, in a series of decisions deprecated the practice of annihilating the environment.”

The bench then went on to quote the recognition of the Public Trust Doctrine from the Supreme Court decision in MC Mehta v. Kamal Nath as well as the seminal decision in TN Godavarman Thirumulpadv. UOI on forest issues.

Read the Judgment Here

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