22 May 2023 7:02 AM GMT
The Supreme Court today refused to interfere with a Delhi High Court order for demolition of illegal constructions in Vishwas Nagar area. However, it has asked the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to stop the demolitions for 7 days so that the dwellers can voluntarily leave the place."If they don't vacate by 29th May, it would be open to DDA to resume their demolition activities. We order...
The Supreme Court today refused to interfere with a Delhi High Court order for demolition of illegal constructions in Vishwas Nagar area. However, it has asked the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to stop the demolitions for 7 days so that the dwellers can voluntarily leave the place.
"If they don't vacate by 29th May, it would be open to DDA to resume their demolition activities. We order that for a period of 7 days no demolition activity shall be continued," a bench comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sanjay Karol ordered.
The bench has also sought DDA's response by first week of July, on the question of rehabilitation of those whose premises are being demolished.
The demolition activity commenced today morning. The matter was urgently mentioned before the vacation bench. "In this scorching heat, they're demolishing my lords. If you don't order status quo, they'll demolish...No alternative arrangements have been made," counsel for the petitioners urged.
Counsel for DDA submitted that single bench and division bench of the Delhi High Court had already sustained the case of DDA for removal of these residents from the dwellings as they're illegal encroachers.
"We've been apprised that demolitions have started at 8 am today. So far as the right of the members of the petition to reside at their present dwelling place is concerned, we do not interfere with Delhi HC order," the Court said in its order.
However, it added, that the court was inclined to give the dwellers 7 days time to vacate the premises. So far as demolition that has already taken place, the Court stated that it would not intervene in the same.
The plea before Delhi High Court was moved by Kasturba Nagar Residents Welfare Association claiming that its members are residing in the area for the last 40 years. It was claimed that they comprise of a slum cluster of over 200 jhuggis having valid documents, namely, Voter ID, Electricity Bill, Gas Connection Bill, MCD House Tax Receipt, Birth Certificate, Caste Certificate, etc. from 1980, and the same makes them eligible for rehabilitation.
The single bench had dismissed the plea, stating that only those clusters, which have been identified by the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (hereinafter referred to as „DUSIB‟), will be eligible for the benefit of rehabilitation under the Delhi Slum & JJ Rehabilitation & Relocation Policy, 2015.
While upholding this decision, the division bench observed that no material was provided by the Association that the cluster has been identified by the DUSIB. "Filing documents to show that they have proof of residence is not conclusive proof of continuous stay in the area because this Court can take judicial notice of the fact that persons who stay in such bastis migrate from the place when they get a better accommodation or a new job but they continue to have papers showing these addresses. This issue can only be decided in proper suit where it has to be established by leading evidence that they continue to reside in these addresses," the division bench had said.
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