NEW DELHI: The Supreme court observed that there cannot be any school without a playground, the top court stated while directing the removal of unauthorised occupations at a place reserved for playground for a school in Haryana.
In a case titled, 'State of Haryana vs Satpal and others' the top court set aside the Punjab and Haryana high court's direction. The apex court directed the unauthorized occupants to vacate the premises within 12 months, failing which the the authorities can taken coercive steps under the law.
Setting aside May 12, 2016, order and October 21, 2015, order in review petition, a bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarathna in an order pronounced on March 3 said, “There cannot be any school without a playground. Even the students who study in such a school (located in rural surroundings) are entitled to a good environment.”
The court noted that out of nearly 5918 square meters of panchayat land earmarked for the school and the playgrounds, a little over 2630 square meter of land was encroached by unauthorised settlers.
Setting aside the High Court order, the apex court held that the direction to legalise the unauthorized occupation and possession on the land, which is earmarked for school premises/playground is unsustainable.
Taking a dim view of the High Court order, the Supreme Court said, “High Court has committed a very serious error in directing to legalise the unauthorized occupation and possession made by the original writ petitioners on payment of market price. Even the other directions issued by the high court are not capable of being implemented, namely, to segregate the vacant land from the residential house and which can be separated and utilised for earmarked purpose, i.e., school premises.”
Stating that the segregation of the vacant land for the purposes of school premises from the one encroached upon area is not possible, the Supreme Court noted that some area is under unauthorised construction while some is under vegetation.
Pointing out that it was not possible to segregate the vacant land from the land under unauthorised construction/occupation and vegetation, the court said that there is no other panchayati land or other land that is available and can be used for school premises/playground.
The adjacent land, the court noted, belongs to some private persons and they are not ready to part with their land to be used as school premises/playground.
Having quashed and set-aside the high court's order and directions issued by it, the court gave 12 months’ time to the unauthorised occupants to vacate the land earmarked for the school and its playground.
The court further directed, “if within one year from today, they do not vacate the lands in question, the appropriate authority is directed to remove their unauthorized and illegal occupation and possession.”
The Supreme court order came on an appeal by Haryana government as the land and the village in question are in Yumnanagar district of Haryana.
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