New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday pulled up the Haryana government for trying to circumvent its order banning construction in the ecologically-sensitive Aravalli range.
“Do you think you are supreme? This is sheer contempt of court,” the top court said, referring to the amendment of the centuries-old Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900 (PLPA) passed by the Manohar Lal Khattar-led government.
On Wednesday, the state assembly had passed an amendment to the PLPA Act, opening up thousands of acres of land for real estate developers and for mining in the Aravallis and Shivalik ranges.
The decision meant it would not only burden the already ecologically-fragile system, but would also pose a major environmental and ecological threat to the national capital region.
The top court, which directed the state not to take action under the new law, said, “Legislature is not supreme… At times, court also has to prevail… we want to say a lot of things, but cannot… It is really shocking that you are destroying the forest… It is not permissible.”
The Haryana assembly bill
The top court was hearing a plea filed by amicus curiae and senior advocate Ranjit Kumar against the amendment of the bill.
The state assembly had passed the amended law amid strong objections from opposition parties, including the Congress and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). The opposition demanded that the bill be presented before a committee for consideration.
In September 2018, the top court had ordered the demolition of all concrete structures built in Faridabad’s Kant Enclave after 18 August, 1992, noting that the constructions were in violation of various orders and caused “irreversible” damage to the Aravalli hills.
“The rule of law seems to have broken down in Haryana and become the rule of men only to favour the applicants,” the court had said at the time.
Kant Enclave is located in Faridabad on a forest land and no construction activity is permitted on it under Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900.
The state assembly’s latest bill amendment would have legitimised the colony.