SC relief for encroachers of Pachmarhi cantonment land

New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) In a breather for 235 families, the Supreme Court Wednesday said they will not be evicted for now from the area of Pachmarhi cantonment that they have encroached upon. Pachmarhi is a hill station in Madhya Pradesh.

While restraining their eviction for now, an apex court bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice C. Nagappan issued notice to the Pachmarhi cantonment board, the Madhya Pradesh government and the defence estate officer, Jabalpur.
Appearing for the petitioners, counsel Roopansh Purohit told the court that moved by the plight of some of the people who faced the threat of being evicted, the court had by its May 9, 2014, order directed the cantonment board not to dispossess them of their dwellings on the encroached land.
Purohit said the present batch of petitioners were poor and they were being evicted without being provided with an alternate dwelling space.
Extending its May 9 order, the court directed the tagging of the petition with the earlier one pending before the court.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court by its March 16, 2014, order had directed the Pachmarhi Cantonment Board to remove all encroachments on the cantonment land.
The high court had also directed the Madhya Pradesh government to provide all logistical support, including adequate police support, to facilitate the removal of unauthorised encroachments.
The petitioners have assailed the high court order saying that it directed the eviction of encroachers of cantonment land without deciding the issue of their rehabilitation and resettlement.
The petitioner said the defence ministry in June 2003 in a circular had said the removal or eviction of permanent structure that have survived for two decades and had civic amenities from time to time within the cantonment limits would not be demolished without prior permission of the defence ministry.
The court was told that the cantonment board did not follow the procedure laid down by the defence ministry.
The petition said the Madhya Pradesh High Court before ordering the eviction of the encroachers on the cantonment land did not consider the question of alternate settlement before their eviction.
–Indo-Asian news Service