Supreme Court defers hearing plea seeking rehabilitation of 10,000 slum dwellers in Surat, Gujarat

  • Gautam Mishra
  • 05:56 PM, 03 Dec 2021

The Supreme Court on Friday has deferred hearing in a plea challenging Gujarat High Court's order directing eviction of over 10,000 slum dwellers near railway lines in Surat, Gujarat.

A bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice CT Ravikumar asked the Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj whether the affidavit sought by the Court on the earlier occasion has been submitted or not.

ASG Nataraj replied on this stating, "I have instruction and the same will be submitted by Monday."

The bench was hearing a plea challenging order of the Gujarat High Court in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) directing eviction of over 10,000 slum dwellers living near the railway lines in the city of Surat in Gujarat, alleging that demolition without providing rehabilitation scheme is illegal, and violates Article 21.

Earlier, the Court had called for a response from the Secretary, Ministry of Railways for taking different stands before different courts.

A bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice CT Ravikumar said, "We'll call upon Secretary of the Railways to explain why it has taken different stands in different courts."

TheCourt was referring to Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves’s submission according to which the Railways had said it did not have any policy for rehabilitation of slum dwellers who are evicted from Railway lines, however, in Ajay Makhan case in Delhi, Railway had said that it will abide by similar policies.

ASG KM Nataraj informed Court that there is no such policy in place, "We'll work on this policy, but at the same time, request you to consider this, as this is the responsibility of the state government."

At this, Justice Khanwilkar stated that the Railways cannot take different stands before different courts.

He said, "Railways have mentioned about the Delhi plan, (but) you are still contemplating some plan. We'll issue you directions to work in line with the Delhi plan."

Cause Title: Utran Se Besthan Railway Jhopadpatti Vikas Mandal vs Government of India & Ors