31 Jan 2023 12:49 PM GMT
The Delhi High Court has ruled that jhuggi jhopri dwellers cannot be disqualified from rehabilitation under Delhi Government’s policy merely because their name doesn't reflect in the electoral roll.Justice Prathiba M Singh relied on the judgment of a division bench in Udal and Ors. v. Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board and Ors wherein it was held that the parties would be permitted to...
The Delhi High Court has ruled that jhuggi jhopri dwellers cannot be disqualified from rehabilitation under Delhi Government’s policy merely because their name doesn't reflect in the electoral roll.
Justice Prathiba M Singh relied on the judgment of a division bench in Udal and Ors. v. Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board and Ors wherein it was held that the parties would be permitted to place on record other documents including ration card, school records, driving license, aadhar card etc for being considered eligible of the rehabilitation scheme.
“The mere fact that the parties cannot produce the name featuring electoral roll, would not be enough for disqualification of jhuggi jhopri dwellers for rehabilitation,” Justice Singh observed.
The court also took note of the observations in Udal which said that though the petitioners in that case could not produce a record of their names featuring in the electoral rolls over the period prescribed in the policy, a holistic view is to be undertaken of the documents produced.
The court was hearing a petition moved by a woman residing in a Jhuggi along with her husband and children between 2001 till 2010.
It was her case that her husband deserted her in 2009 and the entire JJ cluster got demolished in 2010. She submitted that she was entitled to relocation and rehabilitation, as per Delhi Government’s policy.
The petitioner stated that she had filed a plea along with other jhuggi dwellers titled Dharampal Singh & Ors. v. GNCT of Delhi and Ors. wherein all jhuggi dwellers who were found to be eligible were to be relocated as per DUSIB’s policy.
The Delhi Government thereafter issued guidelines for implementation of relocation or rehabilitation scheme and allotment of flats to the Jhuggi Jhopri dwellers in 2013.
The woman was declared ineligible for rehabilitation under the scheme and only 52 jhuggi dwellers out of the 85, who had filed the petition, were found to be entitled.
She then challenged declaration of her ineligibility before the Appellate Board of DUSIB which rejected her on the ground that she did not produce the voter ID card for the year 2009 and 2010.
The petitioner’s counsel submitted that as per the scheme, various other documents can be accepted as the proof of residence in the jhuggi and that the only ground for rejection of her appeal was that the voter ID card was not submitted.
On the other hand, the Delhi Government submitted that the guidelines clearly state that the voter ID card is mandatory and other documents would be in addition to the voter ID card only.
While the petitioner relied upon various school records of her two daughters and her own bank records to establish that she was resident of the jhuggi, the Delhi Government raised various objections to the same and highlighted contradictions in documents of school records of one of her daughters.
Granting relief to the petitioner, Justice Singh said that considering the decision in Udal case, DUSIB’s Appellate Board would have to consider all other documents of the petitioner as well before arriving at a conclusion on her entitlement to rehabilitation
“The Petitioner’s case cannot be rejected merely on the ground that the voter ID card was not produced. The decision of the Ld. Division Bench is clear and categorical that other documents which may establish residence at the said Jhuggi would have to be considered holistically. The purpose of these policies is to ensure rehabilitation and relocation to economically weaker sections and would have to be interpreted in a broader and beneficial manner rather than a narrow and pedantic manner,” the court said.
The court thus asked the Appellate Authority to look afresh into the petitioner’s case considering all other documents produced by her and take a decision within four months.
“The Appellate Authority may also look into and enquire as to whether the Petitioner’s husband has been allotted any alternative accommodation or not,” it said.
Title: SMT. BENI v. GOVERNMENT OF NCT DELHI AND ANR.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 102
Click Here To Read Order