Supreme Court stays new controversial Haryana’s land law

New Delhi, Mar 1 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 3/1/2019 12:18:47 PM IST

The Supreme Court on Friday restrained the Haryana Government from implementing a recently enacted law that allowed construction activities in the Aravali hills in the state and sought to legitimise many illegal constructions retrospectively.

Terming the overturning of its order as a “misadventure” on the part of the state, a Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said the amended Punjab Land Preservation Act was sheer contempt of court.

“Do you think you are supreme? You are not supreme…the rule of law is supreme,” the Bench told the Haryana Government.

On behalf of the Haryana Government, state’s Additional Advocate General Anil Grover told the Bench that an amendment to the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900, has been passed by the state Assembly but it was yet to get the Governor’s assent.

He said the state would like to file its submissions along with a copy of the amended law but the court was not convinced.

Amid strong protests by the Congress and INLD, the Haryana Assembly had on February 27 passed the Punjab Land Preservation (Haryana Amendment) Bill, 2019, aimed at striking a balance between development and environment.

Under the Punjab Land Preservation (Haryana Amendment) Act, PLPA, 2019, the new provisions would be deemed to have come into force from November 1, 1966.

Environmental activists apprehended that the amendment would have adverse impact on the Aravallis—which cover 16,000 acre plus land in Gurgaon and more than 10,000 acre in Faridabad— as it would legalise many illegal constructions awaiting demolition, including Kant Enclave declared forest by the Supreme Court. Several residents had protested against the amended law in Gurugram on Sunday.

The Supreme Court had last year ordered demolition of illegal structures in Kant Enclave—spread over 425 acre—that came up after 1992.

It’s estimated that the amended law would legalise more that 100 farmhouses/banquet halls said to have been constructed on forest land in Faridabad.

As amicus Curiae senior counsel Ranjit Kumar drew the court’s attention to the PLPA amendment by the Haryana Assembly, the top court said it knew that Haryana government would favour builders.

The Congress had termed the Bill as the “biggest scam” of the “so-called honest government.” Congress Legislative Party leader Kiran Choudhary had alleged that the Bill would favour the builder lobby. Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and INLD MLA Parminder Dhull demanded that the Bill be sent to a select committee of the Haryana Assembly. Dhull also questioned its introduction from retrospective effect.

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