Citing a case where the Supreme Court had ordered the restoration of a park after demolition of a shopping complex constructed at a cost of over Rs.100 crores, and another where the Apex Court had held that even where the law permits compounding of unsanctioned constructions, such compounding should only be by way of an exception, Justices Kajtu and Mishra, opined that ‘this decision will apply with even greater force in cases of encroachment of common land. Ordinarily, compounding in such cases should only be allowed where the land has been leased to landless laborers or members of Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes, or the land is actually being used for a public purpose of the village e.g. running a school for the villagers or a dispensary for them.’
In dismissal of the Appeal of Jaspal Singh for want of merit, the honorable Supreme Court Bench rued the fact that ‘over the last few decades, most of the ponds in our Country have been filled with earth and built upon by greedy people thus destroying their original character. This has contributed to the water shortages in the country. Also, many ponds are auctioned off at throw away prices to businessmen for fisheries in collusion with authorities/ Gram Panchayat officials and even this money collected from these so called auctions are not used for the common benefit of the villagers but misappropriated by certain individuals. The time has come when such malpractices must stop,’ the Court warned.
For this purpose, the Chief Secretaries of all State Governments / Union Territories of India are directed to do the needful, taking the help of other senior officers of the Governments. The said scheme should provide for speedy eviction of such illegal occupant, after giving him a show cause notice and a brief hearing. Long duration of such illegal occupation or huge expenditure in making constructions thereon or political connections must not be treated as a justification for condoning this illegal act or for regularizing the illegal possession,” the Supreme Court Order has specified. A copy of this Order has been sent to all Chief Secretaries with instructions to ensure strict and prompt compliance (sic) and reports to be sent to the Apex Court from time to time.