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SC refuses to stay demolition at Khori village, dismisses UN experts’ concern


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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to pass any order on staying the eviction of villagers living in Khori Gaon settlement at Faridabad, Haryana. 

During the hearing, a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar also brushed aside the concerns raised by the Office of UN High Commission for Human Rights regarding people being rendered homeless due to the demolition, carried out to clear the Aravali forest area of encroachments.

“The UN should have read our previous orders and paperbooks,” the bench remarked when senior advocate Meenakshi Arora highlighted the UN report regarding the eviction. 

“We find it extremely worrying that India’s highest court, which has in the past led the protection of housing rights, is now leading evictions placing people at risk of internal displacement and even homelessness, as is the case in Khori Gaon,” a statement by the UN rights experts read. 

The statement was in response to the SC direction to completely remove Khori settlements by July 19.

The SC order came on a petition by residents challenging the demolition of 2,000 homes in the area. During the hearing on Friday, Arora sought some relaxations in evictions in view of the fact that the monsoon had commenced, apart from the Covid-19 threat.

The bench responded that the authorities will consider the same and also stated that if there is any grievance during the eviction, then it can be raised before the court. The SC also granted four more weeks to Faridabad municipal corporation to remove the encroachments after the civic body said unauthorised structures on nearly half of the total 150 acre area hds been cleared.

The SC, which reiterated that all unauthorised structures standing on forest land in the area be removed without any exception, granted time to the civic body noting the ‘humongous task’ involved.

Four more weeks to clear encroachment

The counsel for Faridabad municipal corporation told the bench that three more weeks are required to comply with the top court’s order to clear all unauthorised constructions on forest land. The court granted four more weeks to remove the encroa-chments on the forest land.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)