Relief for persons eligible to relocate; those ineligible get time to appeal against the DDA drive
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA)’s demolition drive at west Delhi’s Kathputli Colony was on Tuesday stayed for 10 days by the Delhi High Court so that persons eligible for relocation can move out voluntarily and those ineligible get time to appeal against the action.
‘Strict status quo’
A Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar directed the police to maintain “strict status quo” in the colony and told the local residents not to carry out any permanent construction. Spread over an area of around 14 acres, the colony is home to a large number of puppeteers, magicians, singers and musicians.
The Bench said persons ineligible for relocation as per the DDA and whose houses were demolished in the drive should not be removed from the area so that they can prove their eligibility for relocation and rehabilitation.
The court also issued notice to the AAP government, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, the DDA, the Police and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, and sought their responses on a PIL moved by some residents of the colony and an NGO challenging the demolition and the manner in which it was carried out.
In a press conference, residents on Tuesday alleged that they were beaten by the police during the demolition drive and not allowed to take their belongings before their houses were razed. They claimed they had to spend the night on the road and their family members were scared for their safety.
The court told the authorities that while relocation may have to be done, “it needs to be dignified”. To the residents of the colony, the court asked why do people come to the heart of Delhi and seek in-sit development, and why couldn’t they settle in the outskirts. It is the first slum in the city to be taken up by the DDA for in-sit redevelopment with the help of a private developer, who in turn will get a substantial part of land for commercial use as part of the project.
The court said the authorities first allow people to encroach and then do not give them sufficient time to appeal against the demolition action, especially when an appellate authority is provided for under the law.
Source:- The Hindu