New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Ajay Maken has moved the Supreme Court seeking rehabilitation of the inhabitants of close to 48,000 slum dwellings along the railway tracks in Delhi. On August 31, the Supreme Court had ordered removal of around 48,000 slum dwellings across railway tracks in Delhi within three months and said no political interference will be entertained in the matter.
Maken, in an intervention application, said the agencies -- such as the ministry of railways and Delhi government -- have already initiated the process identification and removal of jhuggis and have 'issued demolition notices' in various slums in Delhi. "Further, while doing so they have circumvented the established procedure by law with respect to rehabilitation of the Slum Dwellers prior to eviction/ demolition of their jhuggis and ignorance of the procedure enshrined in the Delhi Slum & JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy, 2015 and the Protocol (for removal of jhuggis)", said the application.
Maken insisted that if the action of large-scale demolition of slums is continued, it is likely to affect lakhs of persons and render them homeless amidst COVID-19. "The homeless persons will be forced to travel from place to place in search of shelter and livelihood and the same will be detrimental in current COVID-19 crises", the plea contended, seeking listing of this matter for hearing before the top court.
The plea contended that while passing the August 31 order, the top court gave a detailed hearing to the government agencies (Railways, Municipal Corporations etc.) who seek to dispossess slum dwellers; however, the court completely ignored the affected/ vulnerable population of slum dwellers by denying them an opportunity of being heard.
"The net effect of the directions passed in the order dated August 31, is not only that the slum dwellers have been denied opportunity of hearing but also the Order itself is inhuman and against public policy as lacs of children, women and elderly currently residing in the large slum clusters alongside the railway tracks will be left without a roof on the streets," said the application.
The plea argued that the apex court order directing no court to grant stay on removal of 48,000 jhuggis, is a direction, which amounts to grave obstruction in the right to access to justice.
The plea urged the top court to direct authorities (including the Ministry of Railways, Government of NCT of Delhi, etc.,) to rehabilitate the slum dwellers prior to eviction/ demolition of their jhuggis and to follow the Delhi Slum & JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy, 2015 and the Protocol (for removal of jhuggis) in letter and spirit.