Court halts eviction of 350 residents

The Delhi High Court has restrained the government and others from evicting 350 slum dwellers of Arjun Das camp or demolishing their hutments as part of the East Kidwai Nagar Redevelopment Project.

A Bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal restrained the Delhi Government, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board and Afcon Infrastructure Limited, which are engaged in the construction work under the East Kidwai Nagar Redevelopment Project, till September 25.

Relief till Sept. 25

“It is directed that till the next date of hearing the respondents shall maintain status quo with regard to the location and properties of the petitioners. The respondents shall stand restrained from effecting relocation of the petitioner pursuant to their policy directed status quo to be maintained,” the Bench ordered.

The court order came on a petition moved by the slum dwellers through iProbono against the looming threat of demolition on their hutments at JJ camp adjacent to the Kushak Nallah. They came to the court with their plea against eviction and demolition of their properties without proper procedure and rehabilitation.

They also petitioned against the “unhygienic and deplorable living conditions they were forced to stay in due to construction of smart city on one side and the extension of Barapullah flyover on the other side”.

Rehabilitation delay

The same settlement was subject of litigation before the high court in 2013. The court had then ordered the agencies concerned to conduct a survey and rehabilitate them.

Though the survey was conducted in 2014, nothing was done thereafter for the rehabilitation of the slum dwellers. In the meantime, the work on the projects around them is nearing completion and has blocked their access to their hutments. “The only way they can reach their hutments is through a perilous crossing over the Kushak Nullah which is full of filth and harmful chemicals,” the court was informed.

Proof of exercise

On Delhi government submitting that the necessary exercise after the survey has been carried out, the court asked for a proof of it.

“Proof thereof shall be placed before us,” the Bench ordered.

It also called for details of the residents of Arjun Das camp.

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