Trouble for D’sala MC, illegal slum demolition case reaches Human Rights Commission
The petition makes its prayers based on the constitutional provisions of the ‘Right to Life’ and quotes several judgments where High Court and Supreme Court have stayed eviction or ordered for rehabilitation by the government.
DHARAMSALA- After spending 14 days and nights without shelter, victims of newly formed Dharamsala Municipal Corporation, hundreds of dwellers of three decade old Charan Khad slum who were rendered homeless after MCD ran bulldozer on their shelters on June 17, 2016, has now knocked the doors of Human Rights Commission seeking justice, to claim “Right to Life”.
Some representatives and the Citizen’s Rights Group from Kangra has come in support of the displaced victims and today filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission objecting to the eviction of about 1,500 dwellers including kids, elderly, and school going children. In petition to the NHRC, it was alleged that no proper rehabilitation plan was made, that the grounds of the eviction were not adequately presented and that the entire eviction was carried out in a hurry while the student’s had their examinations going on.
The petition argued that for a community that has been struggling for its existence over centuries, their settlement in Himachal provided them the scope and opportunity to earn a livelihood and opened new windows for their children. But the eviction has pushed the community beyond the margins again.
The petition also raised questions on why the MCD failed to demarcate the area as a slum when there is an Act – Slum Areas Improvement and Clearance Act 1979 which also provides for the same. The Pradhan Mantri Avaas Yojana, which is advertised on the MCD website, provides for “in-situ” redevelopment of any slum, even on government land. This is an option that has also been upheld by the Supreme Court in 2010.
The decisions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in numerous cases have laid down that the right to life is not a right to mere animal existence and that the right to housing is a fundamental right. The Court has laid down that when slum dwellers have been at a place for some time, it is the duty of the government to make schemes for housing the jhuggi dwellers.
The petitioners have also questioned the grounds of ‘open defecation’ and ‘contamination’ based on which the slum eviction was ordered. It questioned as to why sanitation facilities were not developed for the slum in 35 years. The petition appeals that the District administration and MCD be held responsible for immediate resettlement and rehabilitation of the residents of Charan Khad slum.
Also Read: Dharamsala Slum Demolition: Apathetic Mayor & civic body take U-turn on rehabilitation, leave dwellers homeless
The petition appealed that the rehabilitation should ensure availability of housing with sanitation, electricity and water including options available under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna for the same.
The petition makes its prayers based on the constitutional provisions of the ‘Right to Life’ and quotes several judgments where High Court and Supreme Court have stayed eviction or ordered for rehabilitation by the government. The most recent judgment has come from the High Court of Punjab which stayed slum evictions in Chandigarh. The order came from the bench comprising Justices M Jeyapaul and HS Sidhu while issuing notice to the Chandigarh administration.
Petitioners pleaded that it is with great difficulty that the evicted people have found some semblance of a shelter in the last two three days. They continue to live in uncertainty as many of them are unable to afford rented accommodations.
To support the people fighting for the rights of these homeless dwellers, you can connect to (non-funded, non-registered) Kangra Citizens Rights Group (KCRG) (9816345198).