In a move that is sure to bring a huge sigh of relief for many marginalised families, the Delhi High Court has ordered the local law enforcement authorities to hold off on the demolition of slum dwellings in New Delhi’s East Kidwai Nagar.
More than 350 slum dwellers were on the verge of becoming homeless due to the threat of demolition of their homes. Most residents of the slum are employed within the area as labourers or domestic helps, and their children go to school in the same area. The proposed demolition would have not only taken away their shelter, but also displaced and destabilised their livelihood and education.
“In 2009, just before the Delhi Commonwealth Games, the authorities cut our supplies. In 2011, we filed a case but till 2013 we had no redressal. Finally, with Ms. Ruchira’s support, we were successful in getting them restored in 2017. ”
East Kidwai Nagar Slums
This matter was brought to iProbono by Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) and needed immediate action. Advocate Mr. Siddharth Aggarwal briefed by Ruchira Goel, from iProbono’s network, filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court on behalf of the residents of the Arjun Das Camp and Bengali Camp in East Kidwai Nagar.
In a favourable judgment by Hon’ble Ms. Justice Gita Mittal (Acting Chief Justice), and Hon’ble Ms. Justice Anu Malhotra, an order requiring the respondents to maintain status quo was passed to counter the threat of demolition. In other words, the order will prevent the respondents from taking any action until the matter is resolved by the court. The respondent authorities have been asked to provide details on the steps they have taken to rehabilitate the residents.
According to the latest data released by the Delhi Government, there are estimated to be 6,343 slum dwellings in Delhi, inhabited by over 10.20 Lakh families. 86% of these slums have a drinking water source and 98% have proper drainage facilities. On the other hand, the homeless population in the city survives with no proper infrastructure or facilities to support them. With the Delhi’s homeless shelters being too few and too sternous for living, most of them end up living and sleeping on the city’s streets and pavements.
This order is a big step towards getting justice for the slum dwellers and demanding implementation of rehabilitation policies.