Allahabad High Court orders temporary stay on demolition drive along Yamuna Flood Plains by NOIDA authority

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A division bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta and Justice Sameer Jain of Allahabad High Court on Tuesday ordered a temporary stay on the demolition drive being carried out along the Yamuna flood plains by the NOIDA authority.

The petitioner had assailed a public notice dated June 8, 2022, issued by New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA) stating that no construction is permissible in the Yamuna flood plains area and all the construction falling within the jurisdiction is illegal and shall be removed forthwith.

The petitioner's counsel submitted that most of the constructions raised by members of the petitioner-society dated back to the year 2010 and that no impact assessment as provided under the second proviso to paragraph-6(3) of the River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection, and Management) Authorities Order, 2016 had been undertaken so far. 

Straightaway, the NOIDA authority issued the impugned public notice and now it is threatening to demolish the constructions, added the counsel for the petitioner.

He further submitted that the members of the petitioner-society had not been served with any individual notice and merely on basis of an impugned public notice, the NOIDA authority was threatening to demolish the constructions.

On contrary, the Additional Advocate General (AAG) pointed out the various proceedings and reports submitted before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) by Yamuna Monitoring Committee and contended that the NOIDA authority while issuing the public notice had acted strictly in accordance with the law.

However, Court inquired AAG whether there were in existence any individual demolition orders against members of the petitioner society or other persons who are getting affected by the impugned public notice, he admitted that there was no individual order in existence.

The AAG further contended that it is difficult for the authority to identify the actual owner/occupier of the plot/land over which such constructions have been raised, therefore, individual notice/order had not been issued.

Furthermore, AAG stated that in case, the petitioner-society and its members file an objection in pursuance of an impugned public notice, treating it to be a show-cause notice, the NOIDA Authority will decide the same and will not take any action, till the disposal of the objection.

Court opined, the aforesaid course, if adopted, will sub-serve the ends of justice.

Accordingly, Court “permitted the petitioner-society and its members to file an objection within ten days in pursuance of the impugned public notice, and the same shall be decided by respondent no. 2 through a speaking order.”

For twenty days from the date of the order, the “status quo” as of date shall be maintained by all the parties, ordered Court.

Conclusively, Court held, “In case, the petitioner and its members fail to file an objection within ten days from the date of the order, it shall be open to the NOIDA authority to proceed further in pursuance of the impugned public notice.”

Case Title: Harit Kisan Kalyan Samiti v. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority and 2 others