'Preserve green spaces': Delhi HC voices concern over unauthorised structures on forest land
New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Thursday expressed apprehension regarding unauthorised encroachments and constructions of religious structures within forest lands not protected by statutory authorities.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora was dealing with a plea seeking protection for ancient monuments, particularly the Ashiq Allah Dargaah in Mehrauli, from demolition.
The court stressed the need to preserve forested areas and only “certified” heritage monuments, cautioning against the proliferation of unauthorised constructions.
During proceedings, the bench noted the significance of protecting monuments certified by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) or the National Monuments Authority. However, it said that unauthorised constructions lack protection under the law and cannot be permitted, except for monuments certified by relevant authorities.
Referring to images of unauthorised constructions, the bench noted concerns about increasing encroachments and stressed the importance of preserving forested areas for environmental restoration.
Moreover, the court stressed the health implications of unchecked urbanisation, citing the detrimental effects of air pollution on public health. It urged a balance between heritage preservation and environmental conservation, stressing the need to prioritise the well-being of citizens.
Addressing communal sentiments purportedly linked to the issue, the bench cautioned against divisive agendas and emphasised the need for clarity in preserving heritage sites while evicting unauthorised occupants.
In response, counsel for the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) assured the court of adherence to statutory regulations in preserving heritage structures and undertaking demolition actions lawfully.
Concluding the proceedings, the bench reiterated the paramount importance of public health and urged cooperation in vacating unauthorised structures for the betterment of society.