Shimla, Aug 6 (IANS) An encroachment is an encroachment and the encroachers are liable to be evicted, the Himachal Pradesh High Court ruled on Thursday.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan observed: “Encroachment on one inch or on thousand inches, is an encroachment and the encroachers are liable to be evicted and dealt with under law.”
In an interim order, the court directed the state government to clear encroachments on forest land by fruit growers by October 6.
Listing the case for the next hearing on September 28, the bench directed the state government to file fresh status reports or compliance reports within four weeks.
Earlier, the state government informed the court that till June 30 a total of 2,509 first information reports against 2,527 cases of more than 10 bighas of encroached forest land were registered with police.
It said there were 9,735 encroachment cases of less than 10 bighas till June 30. Proceedings in 7,244 cases have been completed and out these in 3,893 cases illegal possession of the encroachers has been vacated.
Refusing to modify the directions to clear encroachments, the high court on July 27 directed the government to take possession of the encroached land and held it responsible to pluck the apples (grown on the encroached land), conduct their sale and utilise the sale price for planting forest trees.
“The respondents (including the state) are directed to make videography of the apple trees, other fruit-bearing trees and the crops standing on the encroached forest land and also of the auction proceedings,” the bench observed on Thursday.