Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Centre, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian that the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, and the government of NCT of Delhi are going to take a decision on the issue raised in the instant interlocutory applications and “till then they will not take any coercive action against the slum dwellers.”
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi submitted before the bench that the court should order a status quo. The bench replied that it will not, as the Centre has already stated that there will be status quo till a decision is taken.
Senior advocate Salman Khurshid submitted before the bench that he appeared on behalf of the applicants who are directly affected as they are jhuggi dwellers. Khurshid emphasised that they need to be heard and urged the court to make them a party in the case. Singhvi argued that demolitions have taken place on Friday and Monday, therefore the instructions need to be given to stop it.
Mehta replied that such demolitions may have taken place in pursuance to some other matter, but not in this case. Delhi government counsel contended before the court that the government will fully co-operate in regard to the laws and rules in place for rehabilitation. The top court has listed the matter after four weeks.
The top court, in its order, said: “Stand over for four weeks. Put up along with the interlocutory application(s) for impleadment as prayed for by Salman Khurshid, senior sounsel assisted by Lubna Naaz, Advocate-on-Record for the applicant(s).”
Senior Congress leader Ajay Maken had moved the Supreme Court challenging its order to remove nearly 48,000 jhuggis along the railway tracks in Delhi. On August 31, the Supreme Court had ordered removal of around 48,000 slum dwellings across railway tracks in Delhi within three months and said no political interference will be entertained in the matter.
Maken, in an intervention application, said the agencies – Ministry of Railways, Delhi government etc – have already initiated the process of identification and removal of jhuggis and have issued demolition notices in various slums in Delhi.
“Further, while doing so they have circumvented the established procedure by law with respect to rehabilitation of the slum dwellers prior to eviction/demolition of their jhuggis and ignorance of the procedure enshrined in the Delhi Slum & JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy, 2015 and the Protocol (for removal of jhuggis),” said the application.