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Saving Delhi's South Ridge: NGT Issues Bailable Warrant Against DM, Deputy Conservator Of Forests [Read Order]

Akanksha Jain
28 Jun 2019 1:49 PM GMT
Saving Delhis South Ridge: NGT Issues Bailable Warrant Against DM, Deputy Conservator Of Forests [Read Order]
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Making clear its disquiet on delays in reclamation and conservation of south Delhi ridge, the largest zone of Delhi ridge, the National Green Tribunal has issued bailable warrants for District Magistrate, North and Deputy Conservator of Forest.

A bench of Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore and expert member Dr Satyawan Singh Garbyal passed the order as the two officers failed to appear before it to "explain certain queries" in compliance of its previous order.

The bench was hearing a batch of petitions filed by Sonya Ghosh, Pavit Singh and others relating to demarcation, fencing and removal of encroachments including massive illegal residential apartments from South ridge in Delhi.

The bench had in May directed the District Magistrate, Tehsildars and Patwaris to appear in person to explain certain queries.

On Wednesday, it noted the absence of District Magistrate, North besides the failure of concerned officer of the forest department of District New Delhi to appear before it.

"We direct that bailable warrants be issued to the District Magistrate, North and Deputy Conservator of Forest, New Delhi for their production before the Tribunal on the next date of hearing, in the sum of Rs. 25,000/- to the satisfaction of the arresting Officer, in exercise of our powers and in terms of the provision of Section 19 (4) (a) of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 read with Order XVI Rule 10(3) and Section 151 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. The bailable warrants shall be executed through concerned SHO, " ordered the Bench.

The Tribunal had earlier also warned of fine being imposed on all agencies concerned as they failed to provide it with complete information.

During the hearing on Wednesday, the bench noted the lack of complete information about demarcation, fencing and removal of encroachment from the ridge.

"Broadly speaking, in this matter there are three steps to be taken, one after the other, namely; complete demarcation of the area in question, fencing of the entire area and removal of encroachments which are in existence therein. After hearing the officers, we find that the complete update in respect of all the three aforesaid items are not available.

Therefore, we direct the District Magistrate South, District Magistrate SouthEast and District Magistrate New Delhi to file a personal affidavit mentioning therein the total areas to be demarcated and the area remaining, if any, which is yet to be demarcated and also the encroachments identified, removed and yet to be removed. It is made clear that the information with regard to the demarcation and the one which is yet to be demarcated and also removal of encroachments should be precise and in accordance to the revenue record which shall be taken as complete and final information from the department".

On March 11, the Tribunal had expressed displeasure at the manner in which the Revenue Department had prepared maps of the area which did not show complete area under encroachments and the works done.

It has now also directed the officer of the Forest Department i.e Deputy Conservator of Forest, South Division, under whom Districts of South as well as South East falls to file a personal affidavit stating how much area has been fenced and the one which remains to be fenced by the department.

One of the petitions amongst the batch highlights how builders have been raising illegal and weak three to four stores building in just a week in the forest areas and the department is simply turning a blind eye.

Click here to download the Order

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