Unhappy with the manner in which a West Delhi slum cluster was recently razed to the ground, the Delhi High Court today said there should be a “protocol” to carry out future demolition drives in the national capital by keeping in mind the “constitutional rights” of the individual.
“During a demolition some protocol has to be followed. It is not that you go and raze the jhuggis,” a bench of justices S Muralidhar and Vibhu Bakhru said, adding that a meeting should be held within four weeks on protocol to be followed in future by all the agencies concerned.
“A draft protocol should be prepared within four weeks thereafter,” the bench said in its direction.
It said that Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) is the statutory authority which is assigned with the tasks of improvement, resettlement and rehabilitation of JJ clusters/ bastis in Delhi, so it will convene a meeting of all the land owning agencies in Delhi, irrespective of what stands these agencies may have with regard to the DUSIB Act.
“The agencies must extend full cooperation,” the court said, adding that the “protocol will be drawn keeping in view the legal, constitutional and human rights obligations of the state”.
It also said that while preparation of protocol, view of the people from the civil society group should also be taken into consideration. Police should also participate in the deliberation of this policy, it said.
The court which has now fixed the matter for January 27 next year, also impleaded Ministry of Urban Development as party to the petition and sought its response on whether it has any policy with regard to JJ cluster.
The court’s order came on a bunch of pleas filed including that of senior Congress leader Ajay Maken, who had sought that the Railway Ministry and Delhi Police should be restrained from carrying out any further demolition drive in Shakur Basti area here, which allegedly left around 5000 people homeless in this chilly winter and caused death of the six-month-old girl.
Maken, through his counsel Aman Panwar has also informed
the court that besides ministry and police, DUSIB should ensure that all displaced persons are immediately rehabilitated in temporary relief camps and shelter homes.
The court which has asked National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to visit the site and see whether the people affected in that area are given proper facilities including food today pointed some deficiency.
To which the court said that the agencies including Delhi government should comply with suggestion of NHRC and put in place the proper “relief and rehabilitation” for displaced.
“Just make sure that people are not deprived on their basic rights,” it said, adding that places and timing for food distribution should be known to everyone in that area.
The bench also said that it would like agencies to explore the possibility of ensuring further safe and secure means of dwelling for the displaced population including an providing an option of occupying some temporary shelter at the nearest possible location.
“The court expects the agencies to act in a coordinated fashion so that there is no duplication of efforts and at the same time relief is provided to every affected person.
“The agencies must be able to identify, within the displaced population, those that are most vulnerable and in need of immediate relief and ensure that they are not denied such relief,” the bench said.
On December 14, the court had come down heavily on the Railway Ministry and police for razing of the slum cluster and directed the authorities to immediately rehabilitate over 5,000 people rendered homeless in biting cold.
It had also said that there should be no further “violence” against those who have been left homeless and had asked the Delhi government to ensure that the children are given education during the rehabilitation program.
( Source – PTI )