28th January 2023

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48,000 jhuggis demolition

The Delhi government and the Northern Railway tried to devise a plan to demolish 48,000 jhuggis that had been built along the city’s 140 km of railway lines and to rehabilitate the inhabitants of those houses.

  • The demolition order was approved by the Supreme Court on August 31, which also said that no other court would grant a stay on the matter.
  • Former Union Housing and Urban Poverty Reduction Minister Ajay Maken appealed against the order, the Delhi government called the address illegal, and the Center submitted to the court that the demolition will not take place before it is deposited. a rehabilitation plan, the case was postponed for four weeks.

What does the court order say and what does it mean?

The writ petition case currently pending before the Supreme Court, in which the August 31 order to remove the jhuggis was approved, was filed in 1985 by attorney MC Mehta for air contamination in Delhi.

  • Several other petitions and requests were subsequently associated with the original petition and the scope of the petition was expanded to include vehicle pollution, garbage disposal, air quality, etc.
  • In the present case, the court heard a case related to the dumping of waste on the roads, in which the body in charge of the SC – Authority (Prevention and Control) of Environmental Pollution – presented a report and the Civic and Railroad Administration of the North was a party in the case.
  • The court said affidavits filed by Northern Railway indicated that there were jhuggis along 140 kilometers of railroad tracks in the state.

“Apart from that, some 70 km of road length are affected by large groups of jhuggi jhopri that exist near the tracks. These groups number around 48,000 jhuggis in the area adjacent to the railway lines, ”

the court said, ordering that a comprehensive jhuggi elimination plan be gradually implemented.

“Invasions discovered in the safe areas must be eliminated within three months and there must be no interference, political or otherwise, and no court will grant a stay regarding the elimination of invasions in the area by,”

he said.
  • The withdrawal will result in hundreds of thousands of people being left on the road during the pandemic, if the Center (Northern Railway) and the State (Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board) fail to come up with a plan soon. for the resettlement and rehabilitation of these people.
  • The court will hear the case in October, when the Delhi government and Northern Railway are expected to reach an agreement on the best way to rehabilitate the residents.

What are the existing rules for rehabbing the jhuggi cluster?

In a letter to the Northern Railway, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) said that the decision to demolish the jhuggis without making any other arrangements is illegal, as provided in the Delhi Laws Act 2 of 2011 (Provisions special) protection against demolition without rehabilitation of the inhabitants of jhuggi.

  • It also cites the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board Act 2010, under which the Delhi and JJ Slum Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy was notified in 2017.
  • As part of this policy, jhuggi groups that arose before January 2015 will not be demolished without providing alternative housing.
  • After this deadline, all emerging jhuggis will be demolished without providing alternative accommodation.
  • The preferred rehabilitation plan, as part of the policy, is one-off, in which groups of slums are demolished, permanent houses are built on the same land or within a 5-kilometer radius, and slum dwellers are displaced, come back after the houses are built.
  • DUSIB will take land from the agency that owns the land and build houses. The policy states that of the land released after the removal of the slum conglomerates, 60 percent will be used for on-site development to rehabilitate slum dwellers, while the remainder can be used as a resource.
  • In cases where the basti is located in the railway safety zone, the on-site development may be canceled and relocation proposed. This clause also applies to slums that must be demolished by court order if the particular land is needed for a specific public project. The protocol includes surveys to determine eligibility.

What is the Shakur Basti judgment, which the state government and Congress leader Ajay Maken have also cited to try and stop demolition without rehabilitation?

  • In 2015, Congress leader Ajay Maken filed a lawsuit against the demolition of more than 1,000 jhuggis along the railroad tracks in Shakur Basti. In its March 2019 ruling, the Delhi High Court ruled that once a jhuggi was eligible for pardon, residents should not be considered illegal invaders.

“The right to housing is a set of rights that is not limited to bare shelter on the head. It includes the right to a means of subsistence, the right to health, the right to education and the right to food, including the right to drinking water, to sewers and to transport ”,

he said.

“The law explained by the Supreme Court in several of its decisions and the decision in Sudama Singh discourages a narrow view of the inhabitant of a JJ (jhuggi jhopdi) basti or jhuggi as a squatter without rights. They recognize that the right to adequate housing is a multifaceted right that preserves a person’s ability to enjoy the freedom to live in cities. They recognize these people as rights holders whose full range of constitutional guarantees must be recognized, protected and enforced. Once a JJ basti / groupement is eligible for rehabilitation, agencies should stop viewing JJ residents as “illegal invaders,”

Judge S Muralidhar and Judge Vibhu Bakhru said.

He said there was no possibility of eviction until an investigation was conducted, arrangements for rehabilitation were made and time was allowed to move to the new site. This principle should apply to all evictions.

Who is responsible for rehabilitation?

The issue of rehabilitating the residents of jhuggi is fraught with conflict, as the problems associated with the multiplicity of authorities in Delhi also spoil this process. Most of the land comes under the control of the Center through the Delhi Development Authority.

  • The railway also has an important part. DUSIB, which is the main slum rehabilitation agency, reports to the Delhi government, while municipal corporations which are supposed to control the invasion and carry out demolition in some cases with the police, are under the Center.
  • Depending on the rehabilitation policy, if the slum cluster is located on central government or agency land, the agency can either rehabilitate the residents itself or contact DUSIB.
  • If they contact DUSIB, they will have to pay the cost of construction, the cost of the land (based on institutional rates) and the cost of moving. DUSIB said the cost of the relocation would be between Rs 7.55 lakh and Rs 11.30 lakh per house, depending on the location.
  • The railways and DUSIB must now decide which of these models to follow before implementing the Supreme Court’s order to demolish the jhuggis.
  • DUSIB told Northern Railway that it has built 29,257 floors, but they won’t be available until March of next year.
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