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Supreme Court Clears Way For Demolition Of 5,000 Jhuggis In Gujarat

| Updated: December 16, 2021 10:23 pm

While hearing a case, a Supreme Court bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar said that it is high time local governments wake up to the situation and take measures to prevent such encroachments.

“Primary duty to see that there is no encroachment of public land is duty of local government. It is high time local govt wakes up to this situation. It is a sad story continuing for 75 years. This is the sad story of this country. Some may encroach, they are removed and another encroaches,” the Bench remarked.

It is ultimately the taxpayers’ money which goes down the drain, the Court added.

The Court was hearing a public interest case appeal around 5,000 jhuggis in the State of Gujarat who was confronting destruction right after the development of a railroad line among Surat and Jalna. The Gujarat High Court had before excused a supplication to slow down something very similar.

The Supreme Court had on August 24, remained the destruction.

The Court in today request permitted the destruction to continue while coordinating that those impacted be given substitute convenience. Around 10,000 people live in the jhuggis.

The Bench in today request expressed that comparative conditions as in the Khori Gaon case from Haryana’s Faridabad would apply and the ghetto tenants will be qualified for convenience later fair treatment.

The Court additionally opposed the Central government’s contention that giving substitute convenience in such cases is a State subject.

“But you want your property back and you are the Union, you have to take financial responsibility. Why are you spending so much on police force if you cannot manage your own property? Only issuing circulars won’t help,” the Bench told Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj.

In its request, the Court said the way that these designs are on Railway property isn’t bantered in any way, and the point of the PIL was distinctly to look for restoration.

“Railway enactment allows them to safeguard their property and they also have a railway force to safeguard their property wherever located. We hold Railways equally responsible for this situation and they are bound to provide support to the persons who are likely to be affected by this demolition,” the Court made it clear.

The Bench, therefore, passed the following directions:

– Railways may immediately issue notices to occupants of illegal structures and give two weeks time to vacate the premises;

– In respect of structures which do not require immediate eviction, 4 weeks time may be given in proposed notice for removal of structures;

– In either case if occupants fail to vacate unauthorised structure, it will be open to Western Railways to initiate appropriate legal action and forcible removal of unauthorised structures by taking help of local police force;

It decided that prior to starting the expulsion interaction of removal, the District Collector should guarantee that names and fundamental subtleties of those impacted are assembled to give reasonable convenience to those qualified for something very similar.

“The entity who is the owner of the land that is local and State government will be jointly and severally liable to pay solatium amount of ₹2,000 to each hut. Amount shall be initially paid by the Collector for a period of 6 months only to be shared equally by the owner of the land (local and State governments). In the event local government has rehabilitation schemes, the affected persons can apply for the same subject to verification,” the Court added.

Importantly, the Court said that the railways “has power to initiate criminal action against unauthorised occupants and they must resort to such proceedings immediately after it is brought to the notice of concerned official.”

Further, the Court likewise said that rail routes being the proprietor of the property, the neighbourhood just as State government should start suitable activity against failing people of concerned foundation for allowing such infringements and not making a move for expulsion in right sincere and soonest opportunity.

The matter will be heard again on January 28, 2022.

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