Forest laws cannot be defeated by allowing encroachments: NGT

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New Delhi, Nov 10 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal Tuesday directed the Delhi government to remove illegal constructions in south Delhi's Jaunapur and Dera Mandi forest areas, saying forest laws cannot be defeated by allowing encroachments.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel passed the order after SDM, Mehrauli assured that further action according to law will be taken.

The tribunal noted the submission that the proposed demolition on August 18, 2020 could not be held due to non-availability of the police force despite informing them well in advance to depute sufficient police on the date of demolition.

“While it is true that removing such encroachment is a challenge but if the Rule of Law is not to be enforced, we will have lawless society. Forest laws cannot be defeated by allowing encroachments and thereafter pleading helpless in enforcing the law,” the bench said.

The tribunal directed that a further action taken and status report be filed by March 31.

According to the status report filed by the Deputy Commissioner, South District, there are about 5000 encroachers and 750-800 structures set up illegally over a period of time and about 3000 encroachers are living at another camp. The tribunal was hearing a plea by south Delhi resident Amarjit Singh Nalwa and others seeking execution of a 2015 NGT order directing the Delhi government to remove encroachments.

The plea stated that unauthorised constructions are going on in the said area and the authorities are not taking any steps to stop them. PTI PKS RKS RKS