The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to pay token damages to eight artisans, engaged in making effigies for Dussehra, who suffered losses due to the civic body’s anti-encroachment drive at West Delhi’s Titarpur area.
A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal directed SDMC to pay a token amount of Rs. 2,500 to each of the eight artisans identified by local commissioner Ashok Agarwal as having suffered losses due to SDMC’s action.
The court had taken suo motu cocgnizance of a news report on SDMC damaging some effigies being made by the migrant artisans in its anti-encroachment drive.
The artisans come to Titarpur every year and work on the footpath.
The court had appointed advocate Agarwal as local commissioner, who visited Titarpur and found visible signs of damage caused by SDMC and many families living in open with no facility of mobile toilets and drinking water.
He also identified artisans whose creations were seized by the SDMC.
Many artisans claimed to have suffered losses running into lakhs as SDMC seized the almost complete effigies.
The court was highly critical of the SDMC’s action on artisans who have been coming to Delhi around this time for over 30 years now.
"Can't you anticipate that artisans will come before Dussehra and make effigies? You permit buildings for rich people and bring enactments for them and you remove these poor people saying they are encroachers. How will Dussehra take place if there are no effigies," the bench asked.