New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Delhi Government to provide information regarding any encroachments in the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary and Central Ridge forest.
The court stressed upon the need for the government to ensure that forest land remains free from encroachments and requested details of any court-issued stay orders concerning alleged illegal colonies in forest areas.
Expressing concern over the 700 illegal colonies’ existence in the forest without apparent stay orders, the Bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet PS Arora stressed the importance of an encroachment-free environment.
The court directed the Delhi Government to submit a concise affidavit explicitly confirming the absence of encroachments in the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary and the Central Ridge.
The High Court addressed this matter within the context of PILs related to the deteriorating ambient air quality in Delhi.
The court had previously taken suo motu cognisance of the issue and appointed as amicus curiae, senior advocate Kailash Vasudev, to assist in the proceedings.
Vasudev informed the court that out of around 1,770 unauthorised colonies in Delhi being considered for regularisation nearly 700 were situated on common village lands and in forest areas.
The court had earlier directed the Delhi Government, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to explain the clearances granted for new constructions in the Southern Ridge forest area.
The amicus curiae pointed out alleged illegal construction activities in Chhatarpur within the Southern Ridge, prompting the court to express concern over the significant loss of forest cover in the national Capital.