Providing relief to lakhs of slum dwellers, the Delhi High Court on Thursday said all the people living at a site before 1998 are entitled to relocation after demolition even if they are on ‘right of way’.
Subsequent plans to make a road through their site as per the Master Plan cannot be a ground to deny them rehabilitation, said the court.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice A.P. Shah ruled this while ordering relocation of jhuggi dwellers in South and East Delhi whose clusters had been demolished. But they were being denied rehabilitation on the ground that they were settled on a land marked for a road under the Master Plan though when they started living on the land there was no existing road.
The MCD said many projects were being undertaken to facilitate the holding of the Commonwealth Games, 2010.
The court rejected the MCD’s stand that alternative land was not required to be allotted to the slum dwellers as the land comes under the Right of Way.
“The support provided by these people...mostly labourers, vendors of vegetable and other household items, some of them rickshaw pullers are indispensable to any affluent or even middle-class household. The city would come to halt without the labour provided by these people...it cannot be expected that human beings in a jhuggi cluster will simply vanish if their homes are uprooted and their names effaced from government records. They are the citizens who help the rest of the city live a decent life. They deserve protection and the respect of the rights to life and dignity which the Constitution guarantees them,” the court said.