-Report by Sakshi Muttur

It was held by the Honourable Supreme Court of India in the case of STATE OF HARYANA VS SATPAL AND OTHERS that the students of the school are entitled to a good environment inclusive of a playground that was illegally occupied by the encroachers namely, the respondents. It overruled the order passed by the High Court of Punjab.


The above case was an appeal filed by the Appellants which is the State of Haryana against the order passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh dated 12.05.2016. The said respondents were held to be in unauthorized possession of the land that surrounded a school belonging to the Gram Panchayat. Certain demarcations were carried out on the application to the Sarpanch of the Gram Panchayat. 

The eviction proceedings were carried out against the respondents on 25.03.2009 under Section 7(2) of the Punjab Village Common Land (Regulation) Act which explains the ejectment process. It was passed by the Assistant Collector on 30.08.2011.

The respondents, aggrieved by the previous order of ejectment, filed for an appeal before the Collector which was rejected by order dated 02.05.2012.


The respondents proposed a Civil Writ Petition No. 3167 of 2015 before the High Court of Punjab and Haryana to override the previous orders. Upon the preliminary hearing dated 23.02.2015, it was disclosed that land occupied by the original writ petitioners is encroached upon and is a part of the school premises. However, the petitioners were ready to give the equivalent vacant land adjoining the school premises as a playground for the school.  


The High Court dated 12.05.2016, directed the newly constituted Gram Panchayat to invoke the powers under Rule12 and assess the market value of the land where houses are constructed and wherever the vacant area can be segregated from the residential house, it can be separated and utilized for earmarked purpose, i.e., school premises. The needful was to be done within four months from the dated order. Thus, the writ petition was disposed of by the High Court.

Following the order passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, the appellants filed for an appeal in the Supreme Court, which was heard by the Honourable Court on 29.03.2022.


The Court ordered the Assistant Collector to submit a report pointing out the exact measurement of the land which was earmarked for the school and playground. In the report, it shall also be mentioned the total area of the land and the measurement of the area occupied as the school and the area to be used for the playground, and that whether in the land other than being used for School there are any other encroachers or no other than the respondents.

Upon receiving the report filed before the court, it was found that there was no playground at the school and the land near, was owned by another person who was not ready to give up his ownership. Thus, it was established that the original writ petitioners had encroached on the land up to 200 sq. yds. belonging to the Gram Panchayat, which had been earmarked for the school.

The Court overruled the order of the High Court which passed an order that wherever the vacant area can be segregated from the residential house, it can be separated and utilized for earmarked purposes, i.e., school premises. It was held that these directions made by the High Court could not be implemented.

The school was surrounded by unauthorized construction made by the original writ petitioners and therefore, the land which was reserved for the school cannot be legalized. The Court held that the students are entitled to good environment and there cannot be a school without a playground. 

The respondents were granted a period of 12 months to vacate the land which was occupied by them forbiddingly and if they failed to vacate the premises, the appropriate authority is directed to remove their unauthorised and illegal occupation and possession.

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