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SC respite on eve of demolition

Apex court stays HC directive on Wahumkhrah residents

SHILLONG: As many as 30 families heaved a sigh of relief on Monday after the Supreme Court stayed the recent directive of  the High Court of Meghalaya to MUDA to go ahead with the demolition of illegal structures along Wahumkhrah river.
The order came a day before MUDA is set to carry out dismantling of illegal constructions.
It was in January this year that the National Green Tribunal had directed MUDA to carry out demolition of all unauthorized structures along Wahumkhrah river giving three month time
Later,  MUDA had issued demolition notices to as many as 200 residents after examining the documents of the residents to ensure whether they were legal occupants of the place as per the records of the Revenue department.
However, after several petitioners had filed a case in the civil court, the move of MUDA to demolish the structures was stalled by the court. But the order of the civil court was short lived after the High Court of Meghalaya set aside the interim order of the civil court.
Following the order of the High Court, the petitioners filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court.
The full bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice Shiva Kirti Singh  and Justice Amitava Roy in the order on Monday said, “there shall be interim stay against the interim direction of the High Court till 18-9-2015”.
The registry has been asked to send the copy of the order to the Government and the case will be taken up again on September 18. Advocate K. Paul, who had earlier taken up the case in the High Court, said that the order will bring relief to as many as 30 petitioners residing along the river.
It was on September 10 that the  High Court of Meghalaya had  set aside the interim stay  order of the  court of  Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner here by citing that the appropriate authority to approach was Supreme Court and not the civil court as per the National Green Tribunal Act.
According to the High Court, “the Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner, Shillong  has no jurisdiction to grant or entertain any petition against the order of the NGT,”
The High Court had also asked MUDA to give five days’ time to the residents from September 10  to vacate the premises to facilitate MUDA to carry out dismantling the unauthorized structures.
It was in August that the move of MUDA to demolish the illegal structures along  Wahumkhrah was stalled after the petitioners  got  the  interim stay from the court of  Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner.

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