HC goes green to remove E-way hurdles

The Punjab and Haryana high court has found a unique way to deal with a ‘frivolous’ petition: Instead of imposing costs, it has asked the petitioners to plant trees of deciduous and perennial nature on both sides of a planned expressway for a kilometre.Justices Ritu Bahri and Arun Monga also ordered the petitioners to furnish proof of the planting, along with a letter issued by the horticulture department which has been asked to supervise the activity to ensure ideal distance was maintained between the saplings.The order came on a petition by Pawan Kumar and few other residents of Haryana who sought action against the National Highway Authority of India for ‘not complying’ with its undertaking to the HC to preserve an ancient pond, a Shiv temple and grave of a man revered by locals in Kaul and Chandlana villages of Kaithal district while constructing the Trans Haryana North South Expressway from Gangheri to Narnaul.Assistant Solicitor General Chetan Mittal, who appeared for NHAI, contended that the claims were ‘false’. Mittal produced photographs to prove that NHAI had preserved the sites and contended that highways of national importance should not be stalled by ‘frivolous’ petitions. The HC recorded that a similar petition, filed by Swami Satyanand who wanted Haryana government’s July 2008 land acquisition order quashed, was disposed of in February. NHAI had then informed the court that the authorities had re-examined the matter and after talks with sarpanches decided to make a deviation of the highway by extending a bridge by 50 metres, while assuring the HC to protect the temple, the pond and grave.However, the second petition by residents in or around the vicinity of the proposed highway alleged that NHAI was not taking measures to comply with its undertaking and that the proposed highway was set to ‘pass through the sites’. Dismissing the petition on Tuesday, HC said, “a perusal of the revised site plan shows that the temple area in its entirety is being protected from any untoward damage by extending the length of flyover. In fact, part of the flyover which has been relocated to save the entire property in question.”

HC goes green to remove E-way hurdles
The Punjab and Haryana high court has found a unique way to deal with a ‘frivolous’ petition: Instead of imposing costs, it has asked the petitioners to plant trees of deciduous and perennial nature on both sides of a planned expressway for a kilometre.Justices Ritu Bahri and Arun Monga also ordered the petitioners to furnish proof of the planting, along with a letter issued by the horticulture department which has been asked to supervise the activity to ensure ideal distance was maintained between the saplings.The order came on a petition by Pawan Kumar and few other residents of Haryana who sought action against the National Highway Authority of India for ‘not complying’ with its undertaking to the HC to preserve an ancient pond, a Shiv temple and grave of a man revered by locals in Kaul and Chandlana villages of Kaithal district while constructing the Trans Haryana North South Expressway from Gangheri to Narnaul.Assistant Solicitor General Chetan Mittal, who appeared for NHAI, contended that the claims were ‘false’. Mittal produced photographs to prove that NHAI had preserved the sites and contended that highways of national importance should not be stalled by ‘frivolous’ petitions. The HC recorded that a similar petition, filed by Swami Satyanand who wanted Haryana government’s July 2008 land acquisition order quashed, was disposed of in February. NHAI had then informed the court that the authorities had re-examined the matter and after talks with sarpanches decided to make a deviation of the highway by extending a bridge by 50 metres, while assuring the HC to protect the temple, the pond and grave.However, the second petition by residents in or around the vicinity of the proposed highway alleged that NHAI was not taking measures to comply with its undertaking and that the proposed highway was set to ‘pass through the sites’. Dismissing the petition on Tuesday, HC said, “a perusal of the revised site plan shows that the temple area in its entirety is being protected from any untoward damage by extending the length of flyover. In fact, part of the flyover which has been relocated to save the entire property in question.”