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Slum dwellers rehabilitation: Delhi HC summons top official

By Ians English

Delhi HC
New Delhi, Aug 9: The Delhi HC on Friday sought the presence of a senior government officer on Aug 20 while hearing a contempt plea for not rehabilitating slum dwellers, despite its orders.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru slammed the Delhi government for "wilfully" not complying with its order on a response to the contempt plea and asked the allotment director of the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) to appear in court.

The slum dwellers had approached the court saying the government has not complied with its order and had decided to rehabilitate only four families instead of the 223 people evicted from a slum where they had been living before May 1998.

The court had in February issued a show-cause notice to the government and asked it to explain the reason for not rehabilitating the 223 slum dwellers.

"Director allotment is the concerned officer responsible for implementation of this order. Let he be present in court. Prima facie order passed by this court was wilfully not complied with. No response has been filed on the show cause notice issued. In this view it would be appropriate to call the officer on next date of hearing in the court," said the court, refusing another chance to government to file response.

The plea has been filed by advocates Prashant Bhushan and Sumeet Sharma on behalf of the evicted slum dwellers.

The plea said that the Delhi government is now taking the stand that only those who are party to the petition filed in the high court will be eligible for rehabilitation.

The slum dwellers have sought contempt of court proceedings against the Delhi chief secretary and the DUSIB CEO, among others.

On Feb 11, 2010, the high court had directed the government to rehabilitate the slum dwellers, who were evicted from their hutments as per the Master Plan-Delhi 2021, by giving an alternative site, within four months.

Providing relief to lakhs of slum dwellers in south and east Delhi whose clusters had been demolished, the division bench had said all the people living at a site before 1998 were entitled to relocation after demolition even if they were on "right of way".


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