[Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy] Jhuggi Jhopri Bastis that come up Before 01.01.2006 are Eligible for Rehabilitation, says Delhi High Court

Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy

NEW DELHI: In the matter of URMILA & ORS. v. DELHI DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY & ORS., Delhi High Court has held that official notice by DUSIB (Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board) is important and necessary to be qualified/ recognized as a “jhuggi jhopri basti” for the purpose of its Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy of 2015.

The bench headed by Justice Sachin Datta observed,

A perusal of the 2015 Policy also makes it clear that only jhuggi jhopri bastis that have come up before 01.01.2006 are eligible for rehabilitation/re-location in terms of the said Policy”

Last month the vacation bench has passed the quo order. The bench gave permission to DDA to proceed in accordance with the law and the High Court made it clear that the residents of the jhuggis in question cannot be left in the lurch and the State government should take some action to mitigate the residents’ suffering.

The Court observed that their relocation was necessary in a view of the fact that the jhuggi cluster is situated on the Yamuna floodplains, posing a threat to life, especially in the monsoon season.

The plea was moved by the residents, claiming that the T-Huts settlement in the area, which the authority proposes to vacate, has been in existence for almost two decades and comprise 32 jhuggis/ households.

The Petitioners also admitted that the land in question belongs to DDA, they urged to not be physically evicted from the demolition site until the survey is conducted and rehabilitation is provided to them as per the DUSIB policy of 2015.

The DDA has filed an application seeking a vacation of the stay order. The ASG submitted that the alleged jhuggi clusters were not in the list of 675 notified jhuggi jhopri bastis/clusters released by DUSIB.

The court stated that by the definition in the statute itself, notification by DUSIB was an essential pre-requisite to be qualified and recognized as a jhuggi jhopri basti. Thus, the reliance placed by the petitioners upon the 2015 Policy, or the 2016 Protocol was misconceived.

The court also expressed doubts on the claim made by Petitioners that they had been residing in the said jhuggi cluster since 1995. “Google Earth images of the years 2004, 2006 relied upon by the respondent, repel the assertion that the petitioners have been residing in the said sites on or before 01.01.2006.

DDA was directed to provide all possible assistance for the rehabilitation of the petitioners.

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