“Entirely Illegal Construction”: Supreme Court directs demolition of a Hotel-cum-restaurant built in Forest Land in Himachal Pradesh
The Supreme Court upheld the order of the National Green Tribunal to order the demolition of a hotel-cum-restaurant at the Mcleodganj bus stand complex in Himachal Pradesh.
The appeal lodged by the Himachal Pradesh Bus stand Management and Development authority was dismissed by the bench consisting of Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee and ordered that the demolition process of the Hotel-cum Restaurant structure be commenced within two weeks and demolished within one month.
In this case, NGT found that the Bus stand complex seriously interferes with the ecology of the region in which it was built and also violates the Forest (conservation) act provisions. It ordered the authority to pay compensation of ₹15 lacs in terms of Section 15 and Section 17 of the NGT act, and a compensation of ₹10 lacs. The Himachal Pradesh state and its tourism department were ordered to pay a compensation of ₹5 lacs each. The Tribunal also ordered an investigation against the officers of the authority to be held.
In its judgment on the appeal brought by the authority, the bench addressed the principle of the environmental rule of law and the position of the courts as well.
The bench observed, upholding the order made by NGT that the building of the hotel-cum restaurant structure is unlawful and constitutes a blatant breach of the law.