Any immediate move would cause the displacement of over two lakh families living in these clusters amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Any immediate move would cause the displacement of over two lakh families living in these clusters amid the COVID-19 pandemic|Representational Image
NATIONAL

No demolition of 48,000 slum clusters in Delhi, Centre tells Supreme Court

On August 31, a Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra, who is now retired, ordered the removal of the clusters within three months along with garbage piled up near the rail tracks

Pritisha Borthakur

The Central Government on Monday informed the Supreme Court that no action would be taken to demolish 48,000 slum clusters near the railway track in Delhi. The dispute is based on an order by the Supreme Court itself. On August 31, a Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra, who is now retired, ordered the removal of the clusters within three months along with garbage piled up near the rail tracks.

Appearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said consultations were on among the Railways, the Delhi government and the Union Ministry of Urban Development to reach a solution, taking into consideration the fact that any immediate move would cause the displacement of over two lakh families living in these clusters amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A case for hearing has been scheduled after four weeks by the court.

The submission was made in a petition filed by Congress leader Ajay Maken, who sought to recall the order passed by the Supreme Court on August 31, directing the removal of nearly 48,000 slum dwellings around the 140-kilometer length of railway tracks in New Delhi within three months.

He said a slum could not be demolished and its people could not be evicted without first making provision for their rehabilitation.

“Slum dwellers have a fundamental right to the city. They are an integral part of the social and economic fabric of the town...,” Maken said.

The Railways further stated that following the directions passed by the National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench, in October 2018, a Special Task Force for removal of encroachments from the Railway Property has already been constituted.

The Railways further told the court that there was "political intervention" which comes in the way of the removal of encroachments.

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