- Haryana government amended Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA)
- Supreme Court had warned Haryana not to tamper with PLPA
- "Do you want to destroy the (Aravalli) forests?", top court asked Haryana
The Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana was rapped on the knuckles by the Supreme Court days after it amended the 119-year-old Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) in the state Assembly. "Do you think you are supreme? It (amending PLPA) is sheer contempt of court," the Supreme Court told Haryana government today.
The state government, amending the PLPA, which protects the green cover of the Aravalli, means throwing open around 60,000 acres of forests in Gurgaon, Faridabad, Nuh, Mehendargarh and Rewari, for construction purposes.
Ordering the state government not to implement the bill passed on Aravalli land, the Supreme Court said, "We will not allow such kind of misadventure...You are not above the law...Legislature is not supreme...It is really shocking that you are trying to destroy the forests."
The top court said that it was aware that the Haryana government "will do this to favour the builders...and that is why we had warned earlier."
"It's shocking that you still went ahead despite our warning," observed the court during a hearing on an illegal colony - Kant Enclave - in Faridabad. Passing the bill grants legitimacy to Kant Enclave, nestled in the Aravalli hills. The top court had ordered the demolition of the colony last year.
Amicus Curiae (advisor to the court) Ranjit Kumar, had brought to the notice of Supreme Court, about the PLPA amendment in the Haryana Assembly on Wednesday.
The opposition - Indian National Lok Dal or INLD and the Congress - strongly objected to the amendment in PLPA and staged a walkout. The opposition claimed that the BJP government in the state passed the contentious bill allegedly to win the support of the real estate dealers ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
Residents of Gurgaon, Faridabad and Delhi have been protesting for last few months against allowing construction and other commercial activities in the Aravalli green belt - a delicate ecological zone and biodiversity hotspot - that is home to nearly 400 species of plants and some 200 species of native and migratory birds.