Give food, water, livelihood to people relocated from Bhairo Marg slums: Delhi High Court [20.3.2023]

The Delhi High Court has directed authorities to provide food, clean drinking water, livelihood and transport facilities to individuals who will be relocated from the slums at Bhairo Marg here that have to be demolished.

The high court said that though the Delhi government has sought to make efforts to rehabilitate slum dwellers on paper, the ground reality is far from desirable.

Due to this, this court finds it necessary to reiterate that the right to housing, being a part and parcel of the right to livelihood, health, food, clean drinking water, sewerage and transport facilities, such facilities must be provided to individuals who will be relocated to Geeta Colony, Dwarka, a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said.

The court also noted that it has already been directed that an alternative shelter should be provided to the cattle staying in a cow shelter run by the petitioner organisation on the land.

The order by the division bench came while dismissing an appeal by a trust challenging a single judge's decision to reject its plea against an eviction notice issued by the Public Works Department (PWD).

The eviction notice has asked all the slum dwellers of Bhairo Marg, near Pragati Maidan to voluntarily demolish their dwellings or else they will be removed with the help of police.

The notice stated that the persons residing there will be sent to a shelter home in Dwarka or Geeta Colony where the maximum period of stay will be three months.

Petitioner Keshaw Sanyasi Gawo Shewasharam' said it is a registered trust and is running a cow shelter and temple at Bhairon Marg. It said it is involved in looking after old, ailing and abandoned cows in a gaushala which is situated upon the land regarding which the notice was issued.

The division bench noted that it has already been directed that alternative shelter should be provided to cows residing at the premises.

This alternative shelter is not for the limited period of three months, as directed by the single judge. In light of this, this court finds no reason to interfere with the order of February 10, 2023 passed by the single judge, the division bench said.

It said the trust has made a passing reference to the fact that the cow shelter and the temple have existed on the premises for 15 years and 30 years respectively.

As this is a pure question of fact to be proven by leading evidence, the same cannot be adjudged by this court in its writ jurisdiction, it said.

In its February order, the single judge had directed authorities to provide an alternative shelter home for the cows of the gaushala' situated in the slum area at Bhairo Marg and had clarified that the condition of the maximum period of stay of three months shall not be applicable to the cattle which are to be moved to the alternate bovine shelter.

The counsel for DUSIB had submitted that the trust's jhuggi cluster does not belong to the notified clusters under the Delhi Slum Rehabilitation Policy.

21 Mar 2023