SRINAGAR The J&K High Court has asked 36 families to remove illegal structures raised by them on the left side of river Jhelum here within two months.
A bench of Justices Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Tashi Rabstan granted two months time after counsel for the petitioners stated that because of harsh weather conditions, it will be highly difficult for them to move out immediately and find a new shelter.
With consent, it is prayed that two months time be permitted to the petitioners to remove their structures which have illegally been raised. Ordered accordingly, the court said adding It is made clear that the structures raised by the petitioners will not be demolished for two months from today. The petitioners shall remove these structures within the period, failing which it shall be open to the respondents to demolish the same.
The 36 families had claimed that they have been residing there for a considerable period of time.
Notice was issued by the Assistant Executive Engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control Department, requiring the petitioners to remove the encroachments and illegal structures raised by them failing which action has been threatened as per the Rules.
When the matter came up before the Court, a co-ordinate Bench, by order dated 26 November 2018, noticed the arguments of counsel for the petitioners that there was some policy for rehabilitation to rehabilitate the similarly situated persons like the petitioners who had made encroachments on the river embankments. The Court, in that context, ordered that the structures be not demolished till they are given alternate accommodation in terms of the scheme for rehabilitation which is in place. The order further clarified that in case the petitioners are not covered under the scheme of rehabilitation, the respondents would be at liberty to file an application seeking vacation of the interim direction granted by this Court.
Response was filed by the State on behalf of Chief Engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control, wherein a stand was taken that there is no policy of rehabilitation under which the petitioners could be considered for rehabilitation after removal of their illegal structures.