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[Gujarat Slum-Dweller Eviction] Allottees Unable To Meet Payment Timeline Under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Scheme May Make Request To Concerned Authorities : Supreme Court

Sohini Chowdhury
14 July 2022 3:15 PM GMT
[Gujarat Slum-Dweller Eviction] Allottees Unable To Meet Payment Timeline Under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Scheme May Make Request To Concerned Authorities : Supreme Court
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In the plea assailing the order of the Gujarat High Court, which had denied relief to the slum dwellers evicted by the Government authorities in September 2020 from the Gandhinagar Railway Station area, the Supreme Court, on Thursday, stated that the slum dwellers eligible for rehabilitation under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Scheme, but facing difficulty in meeting the...

In the plea assailing the order of the Gujarat High Court, which had denied relief to the slum dwellers evicted by the Government authorities in September 2020 from the Gandhinagar Railway Station area, the Supreme Court, on Thursday, stated that the slum dwellers eligible for rehabilitation under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Scheme, but facing difficulty in meeting the payment timeline can approach the concerned authorities.

At the outset, Senior Advocate, Mr. Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the Surat Municipal Corporation and ASG, K.M. Nataraj for Western Railways apprised the Bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and J.B. Pardiwala that the encroachment on the concerned stretch of the railway property has been cleared.

The persons affected by the removal of encroachment are to be rehabilitated as per the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Scheme. Under the Scheme, the allottees are to pay a sum of Rs. 6 lakhs.

Mr. Rohatgi submitted 2450 applications, 1901 applications were approved. But he was concerned that there were murmurs that the allottees might not be able to pay as per the timeline.

The Counsel for the Petitioners submitted that the amount being hefty the payment timeline can be made a little flexible. She submitted -

"We will pay. But if time can be given."

The Bench noted that the Court would not direct the concerned authorities to extend time. It stated that the allottees can approach them and if the authorities have power to extend time, then they can take a call regarding the same, upon representation made by the concerned allottees.

"If the authority has power to extend the time they will. We will not say anything."

As the Counsel tried to persuade the Court by submitting that some of the allottees are below the poverty line, Justice Khanwilkar refused to indulge stating that, even those 'below the poverty line' are to adhere to the rule of law.

"Already indulgence has been shown to these persons, They were trespassers on railways' property…Below the poverty line has to also abide by the rule of law."

In view of the discussion, the Bench recorded in the order -

"Such persons may make requests to concerned authorities which may be considered accordingly. Despite such indulgence, if the allottee is not in a position to abide by the terms, the authority to take decisions in accordance with law. We may not be understood to mean that the authorities will not take any action as will be necessary in the factual situation of the present case."

Mr. Rohatgi assured that he would ask the authorities to show some leniency.

The Bench observed that it is open for those applicants whose applications have been rejected to seek appropriate remedies in law to assail the authorities' orders.

At the end, it recorded that the concerned Departments ought to take action against erring officers and the disciplinary proceedings that have already been initiated should be taken to its logical conclusion.

In respect to the pleas challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court's order with respect to eviction of slum dwellers, the Bench adjourned the matter till 15th July, 2022 asking the Counsel for Haryana Urban Development Authority to be present for the hearing.

ASG, K.M. Nataraj informed the Bench that there is another similar matter pertaining to the Delhi Mumbai High Speed Railway Line. He submitted that the Punjab and Haryana High Court has passed an interim order not to remove encroachers even when an eviction order has been passed in this regard. The Bench issued notice and made it returnable on 27th July. It stayed further proceedings before the High Court.

[Case Title: Utran Se Besthan Railway Jhopadpatti Vikas Mandal Vs Government of India and connected matters]


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