HC tells Noida authority to serve notices to illegal farmhouses before their demolition

The Allahabad high court on Tuesday directed the Noida authority to serve individual notices before demolishing farmhouses built on the Yamuna floodplains.

The court order follows an urgent writ filed by nine farmhouse owners. They stated that the authority is putting up unsigned public notices on their farmhouses, deeming the structures “unauthorised” because they do not have any sanctioned map. The authority has already demolished at least 130 farmhouses, which were built without a sanctioned map.

This is the third high court order issued in the last one week as farmhouse owners are filing ‘urgent’ writ petitions to protect their properties.

The first order, issued on June 16, directed all parties to maintain status quo for 20 days until the authority addresses the concerns of farmhouse owners.

“Kaushlenra Nath Singh, advocate for the Noida authority, is directed to bring the written instructions before the court from the chief executive officer, to answer the said query,” stated the order, which was issued on June 20 by the bench of justice Sunita Agarwal and justice Vikram D Chauhan.

The order further said, “In the writ, the nine petitioners challenged the public notice dated June 8, 2022, issued by the the Noida authority chief executive officer for demolition of constructions raised by them over a period of time on the premise that the petitioners herein had encroached upon the floodplain zone of Hindon and Yamuna rivers, construction over which is prohibited.”

The Noida authority issued a public notice on June 8, warning all farmhouse owners to face demolition because building any structure on the riverbed is unauthorised. It also warned prospective buyers of these farmhouses to not get involved with the developers and owners.

“Land owners can only carry out agricultural activities on the riverbed and are not allowed to build any structure,” CEO Ritu Maheshwari said in the notice.

“The petitioners herein are not the original residents of the place in question. They have come into possession of the land in question, based on the sale deeds executed by the original owners. The sale deeds allegedly obtained by nine petitioners herein are not on record. In none of the paragraphs of the writ petition, the petitioners have stated that they had raised construction after getting a plan sanctioned from the competent authority over the plot in question,” the order read.

Noida authority officials said that their counsel will file replies as directed by the court. “For the incomplete and the missing facts in the writ petition, though we are not inclined to entertain the writ petition, but in order to give an opportunity to the learned counsel for the petitioners, liberty is granted to him to file a supplementary affidavit giving details of the sale deeds and the construction plans duly sanctioned by the competent authority,” the order stated.

The court also directed the authority counsel to provide the provisions under which they can demolish the structures.

“As regards the respondent, we direct Kaushlendra Nath Singh to bring the legal provision before the court, which gives authority to the chief executive officer of the Noida authority to demolish the existing constructions by a general public notice, published online and physically, without giving any individual notices to the petitioners who had allegedly encroached upon the floodplain zone or raised construction without getting a proper sanctioned plan,” the order stated.

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