No coercive action to remove 48,000 slum dwellings along rail tracks in Delhi

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24

The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that no coercive action would be taken to remove around 48,000 slum dwellings along the railway tracks in Delhi as deliberations were being held on the issue.

“The deliberations are going on. We are not taking any coercive steps,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.

Taking note of Mehta’s submission, the Bench adjourned the matter for four weeks.

The court is seized of several applications, including the one by Delhi Congress leader Ajay Maken, seeking rehabilitation of the affected slum dwellers before they were dislodged.

The top court had on August 31 ordered the removal of around 48,000 jhuggis along the railway tracks in Delhi in a phased manner in three months and said there shall not be any kind of political interference in implementation of its order.

Restraining courts from granting any kind of stay with respect to removal of these encroachments along railway tracks, the top court had said 70 per cent of the requisite amount shall be borne by the Railways and 30 per cent by the State Government and the manpower be provided by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), Railways and agencies available with the Government, free of cost, and they will not charge it from each other.

Earlier, Mehta had told the Bench on September 14 that no slum dwellers along the 140 km length of railway tracks in Delhi would be removed until a final decision was taken by the government in consultation with the Railways.

On behalf of Maken, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi had urged the Bench to order status quo but the court didn’t oblige him.

The petitioners had submitted that it would be highly risky to demolish the hutments of more than 2,50,000 people during COVID19 pandemic without prior rehabilitation as they will be forced to move from place to place in search of shelter and livelihood.


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