Encroachment of land: India

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Eviction of Encroachers

Encroachers on govt land not entitled to prior notice: HC

Abhinav Garg, October 8, 2020: The Times of India

Delhi High Court refused to stay an ongoing drive by Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to remove encroachments in the Yamuna floodplain at Dhobi Ghat.

A bench of justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad also ticked off the land owning agency for “keeping its eyes shut” and allowing encroachments to crop up on its land for long. “DDA ought to have protected its land, but the less said the better,” the bench remarked, while declining to stay the eviction drive. The court, however, asked it not to take any coercive action for the next ten days, allowing those affected to approach National Green Tribunal (NGT) on whose directions the Authority has begun clearing Yamuna floodplain of encroachments, or the Supreme Court.

The high court was hearing a petition filed by two residents of the area who sought an immediate stay on the demolition drive and claimed that the agency didn’t give prior notice to the locals who face the threat of being rendered homeless.

But the bench made it clear that encroachers on government land are not entitled to prior notice and pointed out that NGT’s orders can only be assailed before the Supreme Court, with the high court having no role to play. It refused to examine if the residents are eligible for rehabilitation, leaving it to Delhi government’s urban shelter board (DUSIB) and DDA, even as it gave ten days time to the petitioners to move NGT or SC if they wish.

The high court also directed a reluctant DDA, represented through senior advocate Rajiv Bansal, to coordinate with DUSIB and conduct a joint survey of the area in Jamia Nagar. It said the agencies can use drone for videography and for further mapping of the area.

Taking note of the court’s stand, the petitioners withdrew their plea for stay and also the writ petition filed before a single judge challenging the encroachment drive, after the bench said it won’t allow parallel proceedings before NGT and court to continue. Last week, DDA had demolished 100s of jhuggis in a drive to remove encroachments in the Yamuna floodplain.

Earlier this year, the Yamuna monitoring committee had told the green tribunal that almost 959 hectares of the river’s floodplain were encroached on and needed to be secured by DDA. In its final report, it stated that an area of 954.2 hectares was encroached on or in agricultural use, while another 5.26 hectares were currently under litigation. It added that the Millennium Park bus depot, which was under the Supreme Court and NGT’s scanner, was indeed a part of the river’s “O” zone where construction and commercial activities were prohibited.

‘No alternative site, no removal’ policy promotes encroachment: HC

August 1, 2022: The Times of India

Madurai:The Madras high court does not endorse the government policy of not removing encroachments till the time squatters are given alternative sites, saying such a decision amounts to promoting encroachment. 

The court has made the observation while hearing recently a PIL filed by Peter Swamy Dhas before its Madurai bench in 2021. The petitioner sought a direction to the authorities to remove encroachments from Parakkai channel to Suchindram Kulam at Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari district.

The state submitted that action has been taken to remove encroachments in the water body. It said 388 encroachments have been removed and the remaining 131 would be done away with after making alternative sites available to the people living there. 
A division bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice S Ananthi (since retired) expressed surprise at the half-baked action regardless of the court’s direction.

Saying such attitude is not acceptable, the judges noted that that they do not support the government policy of letting encroachments be until the encroachers are given alternative sites.

The judges directed authorities to remove lawfully the remaining 131 encroachments within four months. They said Tamil Nadu has been saddled with encroachments because of official inaction or for other reasons.

See also

Delhi: Land Encroachment

Encroachment of land: India

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