The Himachal Pradesh High Court ruled that unauthorized construction, if it is illegal, cannot be compounded and has to be demolished.
The petitioner admits that he has encroached upon the forest land in Shimla town itself and has been served with the notice of eviction. The sole ground on which the petitioner claims a right to squat over the municipal land is that he has been paying the property tax to the Municipal Corporation, Shimla.
The court wondered how the mere fact of paying municipal tax would create any kind of right in favour of the petitioner so as to entitle him to keep occupying the government land.
The division bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Virender Singh observed that the Court is dealing with public property, wherein the public has interest and it is more than settled that private interest must yield to public interest. The petitioner even as per his admitted case is an encroacher and it is more than settled that right and title of the State cannot be permitted to be destroyed so as to give an upper hand to the encroachers, unauthorized occupants or land grabbers.
It was further observed that once it is found that the petitioner is a rank – encroacher, then obviously his illegal possession cannot be permitted to be continued, that too, under the order of the court, as it is the bounden duty of the court to ensure that such wrong doer is discouraged at every stage and not permitted to prolong the litigation.
The bench said that the very object and purpose of encroaching upon the National Highway land by raising dhaba thereupon by the petitioner is only to make a quick buck by illegal means and the same be not permissible at any costs.
“The petitioner, after raising unauthorised construction, that too, by encroaching upon the forest land cannot approach this Court for protecting either his illegal occupation or his unauthorised construction. The unauthorised construction raised has not only to be demolished but even the land upon which the said construction has been raised has to be evicted and thereafter handed over to the municipal authorities” the court said.
Case title: Kamal Dev v/s State of H.P. & Ors.
Citation: CWP No. 8269 of 2022