The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the demolition of structures built after August 18, 1992, at Faridabad's Kant Enclave, saying they were built on forest land.
“The demolition should be completed on or before December 31, 2018,” a bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta ordered.
The bench lashed out at R Kant & Co, which carried out construction in the area, and the state government for allowing it. It said there was no doubt that irreversible damage has been caused to the environment and ecology of the Aravalli hills.
"There is no doubt that at the end of the day, the state of Haryana comes out in very poor light and must be held accountable for its conflicting and self-destructive stand taken in spite of affidavits filed by the Chief Secretary of the State of Haryana from time to time supporting the Forest Department," news agency Press Trust of India reported.
"The rule of law seems to have broken down in Haryana. It has become the rule of men only to favour the applicants (builder). The damage caused to the Aravalli hills is irreversible," it said.
The bench ordered compensation of Rs 5 million each to those whose construction was to be demolished. It also directed the company to refund the entire investment made by people who had got land from it, along with interest at 18 per cent per annum.
The affected parties can also claim more damages from the builder and the Haryana Town and Country Planning Department if they were unsatisfied with the compensation amount fixed by the court. An appropriate legal remedy can be taken, including the filing of a civil suit, Hindustan Times reported.
The about 30,000 acres of forest land in the Aravallis in Gurugram and Faridabad is currently notified under the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA).
The court said it had no doubt that Kant Enclave "is a forest or is a forest land" and absolutely no construction activity could have been permitted on it with effect from August 18, 1992, PTI reported.
Applying the polluter pays principle, the court gave a month's time to R Kant and Company to deposit Rs 50 million in the Aravalli Rehabilitation Fund to restore the forest land, The Indian Express said.
“This amount should be deposited within one month and in any case on or before October 31, 2018," the bench said.
Haryana's chief secretary was asked to comply with Tuesday's judgement by December 31, 2018. The court will, however, hear the matter again in the middle of November to ensure compliance.
A total of about 1,600 plots were carved out and 33 multi-storey houses were constructed by R Kant & Company in Kant Enclave.