The apex Court stressed the importance of conserving forests, and stated that the increase in forest cover is due to the strict interpretations and expositions by the top court.
Justice A M Khanwilkar, chair of the bench, said that environment is more important then civil rights.
The bench also included Justices A S Oka and C T Ravikumar. They were hearing pleas that raised the issue of forest and non-forestland in reference to the interplay between provisions under the Punjab Land Preservation Act 1900, the Forest Conservation Act 1980, and the land which forms part the Faridabad Complex Development Plan (Regulation and Development) Act 1971.
The court of appeal observed that the fulcrum was about forest and its existence, so that it doesn’t disappear due to land acquisition.
It was said that town planning is a materialistic approach, while preservation of forests has a different approach that relates to the environment.
The court stated that forest must not be destroyed. It also said that increasing forest cover can only be achieved through strict interpretation and exposition.
During the hearing Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the bench that the apex Court, while hearing Faridabad’s Kantenclave matter, was made aware of certain amendments to the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900.
He stated that the apex court had requested Haryana to cease acting without permission from the court under the amendment Act.
Mehta claimed that the Kant Enclave court judgment in which it ordered demolition of unauthorised structures on forest land, and in which it also ordered Mehta to amend the order, Mehta said.
According to the solicitor general’s statement, he had made it very clear to the court that demolition in Kantenclave will take place as per the order from the top court.
He referred back to Haryana’s application in this matter and said that the state has applied for permission to act on the Punjab Land Preservation (Haryana Amendment) Act 2019 upon publication in the official gazette.
Mehta stated that the application is pending before another court which is seized of main matter.
He informed the apex court about the state’s request so that the issue could be considered holistically.
The problem is, Mehta stated, that in view of the continued stay, it would not be a handicap on my side to address your lordships about the PLPA as we have to rely upon Mehta’s amendment.
Vikas Singh (senior advocate) appeared on behalf of some petitioners and stated to the bench that one the prayers in the prayer was for the implementation of the amendment Act.
The bench noted the petitioners’ demand for certain reliefs. One of the incidental reliefs could have an impact on the direction that was issued by the apex on March 1, 2019.
After hearing the Solicitor general and the counsel appearing on behalf of the writ peter in the present petition, as well as the amicus cuiae, We believe that the prayer in IA (filed Haryana), should be addressed along with the prayers in writ pet…which have been heard by a bench of three judges for quite some time.., they observed.
We order accordingly. It said that Registry would do the necessary.
The hearing would continue on Wednesday.
Haryana had filed an affidavit last year in the apex courts. It had previously been asked to state clearly about the factual base as to how the area was first designated as forest area, either under the Union enactment of the state enactment. Other related matters can also be considered for the resolution of the controversy in question.