Supreme Court: The 3-Judge Bench of L. Nageswara Rao, B.R. Gavai and A.S. Bopanna, JJ., directed the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board to consider relocation and rehabilitation of 268 Jhuggi Dwellers without insisting on Ration Card proofs.

The appellant, Rajiv Camp, Saidabad had approached the Delhi High Court with a request to issue writ of mandamus for directing the NCT of Delhi to allot plots to the beneficiaries of Rajiv Camp in terms of policy guidelines for the implementation of the scheme for relocation/rehabilitation and allotment of plots to slum and JJ dwellers.

By the impugned order, the Delhi High Court had held that since the original cut-off date was 31-12-1998, the jhuggi dwellers were not eligible for the rehabilitation scheme at that date as they did not have ration card on the relevant date. The High Court observed that there was nothing in the office orders dated 16-7-2010 and 03-02-2011 to show that they had a retrospective operation.

Notably, the slum and JJ Department carried out a joint survey with DMRC, the department that was carrying out the demolition, and prepared a list of jhuggi dwellers existing on-site. Pursuant to this, the slums and JJ Department informed DMRC that none of the jhuggi dwellers were eligible for allotment of the alternate site. A total of 474 jhuggies were found existing at the site. Admittedly, the jhuggi dwellers were removed/evicted from the site by DMRC allegedly without notice.

However, on receipt of the verification report from the Food and Supply Department, it was found that not even a single person was found entitled to relocation/rehabilitation. Since, as per the policy, jhuggi dweller families having ration cards issued up to 31-12-1998 were only eligible for relocation. In the instant case, none of the families were found in possession of ration cards issued up to 31-12-1998.

The appellant urged that the dwellers had made representations pointing out that they had been living at the existing site for more than 20 years and had valid claim/proof of their existence. Therefore, the appellant was claiming the benefit of the order dated 16-7-2010 and 03-02-2011 issued by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi, Urban Development Department which extended the cut-off date from 31-12-1998 to 31-03-2002 for allotting flats for rehabilitation/relocation. Further, by the order dated 03-02-2011 the cut-off date was extended from 31-03-2002 to 31-03-2007.

The Court permitted the 268 Jhuggi Dwellers to file a representation before the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board for relocation and rehabilitation, granting them liberty to produce evidence to show that they are entitled to relocation and rehabilitation.

The Board was directed not to reject the applications on the ground that Ration Cards and other data is not available. Additionally, the authorities concerned were directed to consider the representation made by the Jhuggi Dwellers on the basis of the evidence produced by them in accordance with the aforementioned guidelines/policy and pass orders within a period of four weeks.[Rajiv Camp Saidabad v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2022 SCC OnLine SC 721, decided on 19-05-2022]

Appearance by:

For Petitioner(s): Mr. Prashant Bhushan, AOR, Ms. Alice Raj, Adv. And Mr. Rahul Gupta Adv

For Respondent(s): Ms. Uttara Babbar, AOR and Mr. Manan Bansal, Adv.

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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