HC advises Maruti to vacate land in restricted IAF zone

Courtesy: Ajay Sural TNN

Submitted by – Mayank Dureja

The Punjab and Haryana high court has advised public sector automobile giant Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) to vacate a part of its property that falls in the 300-metre restricted zone around the Air Force stationin Gurgaon.

These oral observationscame from a division bench headed by Justice S S Saron while hearing the ongoing issue pertaining to removal of encroachments around Air Force stations of Gurgaon and Faridabad. On the suggestion of HC, the counsel appearing for Maruti sought time from the court to seek instructions from the company in this regard.

When the matter came up for hearing before the bench on May 23, the counsel for Maruti sought permission to implead the company as party in the case. The counsel said the company is a central government-registered entity and should be heard by the court as the Maruti property falls within the 900 metre as well as the reduced limit of 300-metre restricted zone around the depot.

After going through the property map, the bench orally observed that only the delivery area of the company’s production unit falls within the reduced restricted zone of 300 m, and the company can easily vacate it.

Hearing this, the counsel for Maruti told the court that he would be able to make any submission in this regard only after seeking instructions from the company.

During hearing of the case, the bench also asked additional solicitor general of India, Satya Pal Jain, to clarifiy the powers of district magistrates delegated by the Centre for enforcement of provisions of Works of Defence Act, 1903, to remove encroachments in a 100-metre radius of the ammunition depot in Faridabad and 300 m from that in Gurgaon.

 The matter will come up for hearing on June 1. The matter reached the HC in 2010 through a public interest litigation seeking removal of constructions from the 100-metre area around the Air Force station, Dabua, in Faridabad, and construction within 900 m around the Air Force ammunition depot, Gurgaon.
Following court intervention, the central government, in September 2015, told the HC that it had been decided to decrease the restricted zone around the ammunition depot of Indian Air Force, Gurgaon, from 900 m to 300 m. The Centre, however, made it clear that the area of restricted zone around Air Force station, Faridabad, remains 100 metre.



High court notice to Centre, Haryana on plea to quash Works of Defence Act

Courtesy : TNN – Ajay Sura

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday issued notice to the ministry of defence (MOD) and the Haryana government on a plea to quash the Works of Defence Act 1903 that restricts construction around defence establishments.

Bench headed by Justice Rajesh Bindal of the HC has issued the notice while hearing a petition filed by Vikram Singh, a resident of Sheetla Mata road Gurgaon.

Petitioner, who has a house within the restricted zone of Air Force station Gurgaon, has also sought directions not to displace him or demolish his house.

The matter would now come up for hearing on September 19 for further hearing.

Petitioner informed that in March 2016, the high court had directed the deputy commissioners (DCs) of Gurgaon and Faridabad to issue notices against those who have made constructions within 300 metres around the IAF ammunition depot Gurgaon and 100 metres around the air forces station in Faridabad. The DCs had been asked to issue notices asking the encroachers to remove constructions to avoid any action from the administration.

According to petitioner after reading the media reports about the demolition of his house, he is under fear of losing his living abode and only source of livelihood based on his ancestral land since immemorial time.

 “The sword/threat of demolition of the home situated on the ancestral land is in violation of human rights and various international covenants like Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Convention of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Resolution No. 1993/77 adopted by Commission of Human Rights titled ‘Forced Evictions and Human Rights’,” said Pradeep Rapria, counsel for the petitioner.
Rapria further stated that government rehabilitate the slum dwellers having constructed their houses on the public land, but the people like petitioner who had constructed their houses on their ancestral land cannot be uprooted at the altar of Works of Defence Act the old draconian law of the year 1903, without ensuring respectable rehabilitation of people.
He further submitted that due to significant changes in the ground realities and enactment of subsequent statutes, after passage more than 100 years of passing of the Works of Defence Act, 1903, the antique law has lost its relevance and now the present ground reality is that without ruining the lives more than 25 lakhs citizens’ residing in the vicinity of the Air Force Depot, Gurgaon.

While making Maruti Suzuki India Limited and Pasco Automobiles as respondents along with the MOD, the petitioner pleaded before the court that the buildings of these companies are also situated within the restricted zone of the Air Force depot, nobody is touching them, while the government is bent-upon to demolish the houses of people having constructed their ancestral land.

MCG drafts compensation plan for 300m IAF zone

The MCG has prepared a plan to compensate families that live within a radius of 300 metres around the IAF ammunition depot’s restricted zone. A senior official in the civic body said a Rs 4,900-crore compensation plan had been drafted to create a new 300-metre restricted area around depot and submitted the plan to the chief minister. The Punjab and Haryana high court has told the state government it will consider a proposal of reducing the restricted zone around the ammunition depot from the current 900 metres only if it undertook to remove all encroachments in a 300-metre area. The high court’s directions came after the defence ministry said it wanted a 300-metre area around depot completely encroachment-free before formally notifying a new restricted zone. The 900-metre restircted area around the IAF depot has seen large-scale encroachment over the years, with thousands of families now living there without access to basic amenities. “As per rules, there is no provision to rehabilitate those who encroach on defence land,” said a highly placed source in MCG.

“The only way out is to compensate such encroachers. This is the reason we have been asked to work out a compensation amount that to be paid to the 1,400 families that are presently residing in the 300-metre area, in case they are removed,” the source added. The MCG estimates around 50,000 people live within a 300-metre radius of the IAF depot. Based on the number of families, this works out to Rs 35 lakh for each family. “However, since MCG does not have this money and will never be able to pay this sort of compensation, the state government will have to pay this money.

We have submitted the compensation report to the state government and the final decision will be taken by the chief minister himself,” the MCG source said. Opposition parties have opposed this plan. “By offering this compensation, the BJP government is trying to adopt a divide and rule policy. I have been fighting this case in the high court and Supreme Court and our demand is that the entire safety zone should be removed. We will not allow this 300-metre restriction to be imposed at any cost,” said Congress councillor Gaje Singh Kablana. The next date of hearing is on November 17

Restricted area to be cut only after removal of encroachments: HC

Courtesy : TNS

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today made it clear that the proposal for reducing the restricted zone around the IAF ammunition depot at Gurgaon from 900 to 300 metres could be permitted only if the state government undertook removal of encroachments within the 300-meter area.Taking up the matter, a Division Bench of Justice Satish Kumar Mittal and Justice Mahavir Singh Chauhan also gave Haryana time till November 17 to file a detailed reply.

The development took place during the resumed hearing of the ongoing petition filed in public interest against encroachments in prohibited zones around the IAF stations in Gurgaon and Faridabad.Almost a year after recommendations were made for reducing the restricted zone from 900 meters to 500 meters around the Gurgaon, the High Court on a previous date of hearing was told that the area would, in fact, be decreased to 300 meters.A statement to this effect was made before the Division Bench by the Central Government. The assertion came just about two months after the High Court had asked the Union Ministry of Defence (MOD) to take a decision in the matter.Nearly 8,000 structures within the restricted zone of 900 meters around the ammunition depot were to be saved from possible demolition if the recommendation of reducing the zone to 500 meters was accepted. But now, with a further reduction in the area, the number of structures saved will be far greater.The matter had reached the High Court after a public interest litigation was filed by Suersh Goyal of Faridabad. He was seeking the removal of constructions from the 100-metre area around the Air Force Station, Dabua, in Faridabad, as it was a protected zone under the Work of Defence Act. The High Court had also taken cognizance of a similar matter on the construction activities within the restricted 900-metre zone in Gurgaon.