On Friday, Ajay Makan, the Congress leader challenged the SC order for the Delhi slum demolition along Delhi’s railway tracks. Ajay Makan called the order as “inhuman”. He requested that no slum person should be evicted without providing them alternate housing as per Delhi Skum & JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy, 2015.
The demolition drive plan from Friday to Monday was announced for 48,000 slum clusters.
The Supreme Court’s order barred any court in Delhi from issuing a stay on the eviction proceedings after Railways complained of political interference in the past over the removal of slums and gave the Railways three months for the completion of the proceedings.
The order did not hear slum dwellers individually or collectively, thus violating the principals of natural justice, said Maken.
The plea highlighted the consequences of the order. “The order itself is inhuman and against public policy as lakhs 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….even a small percentage of the displaced population if affected by COVID-19, then the same will prove to be a recipe for disaster.”
The Delhi High court earlier approved the protocol which was prepared by the municipal corporations, Delhi government’s Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, Railways, and Union urban development ministry. As per the protocol. Delhi’s slums that existed prior to January 1, 2006, and all hutments that were built before January 1, 2015, shall not be demolished without providing them with an alternate housing.
Maken said the 48,000 slum clusters sought to be demolished have been in existence for 30-40 years and are home to over 240,000 people.
Last year the High Court said that slum dwellers contribute to the social and economic life of the city by working as sanitation workers, garbage collectors, domestic help, rickshaw pullers, labourers.
Maken said the railways accepted the Supreme Court’s judgment and did not file an appeal against it. He added it has now circumvented the high court ruling by directly approaching the Supreme Court without mentioning the norms laid down for the demolitions.
“Even the Master Plan for Delhi 2021 provides for in-situ rehabilitation of slum dwellers wherever possible and relocation of slum dwellers in other cases. The Rajiv Awas Yojna, renamed as the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, also aims towards slum-free India by 2022 and the scheme also provides for either in-situ rehabilitation or relocation in exceptional cases,” Maken’s plea said. “These facts were not brought to the notice of the Court before passing the August 31 order.”