Demolition issue in Delhi: The entire national capital of India is unauthorised says high court

The entire national capital is unauthorised, an anguished Delhi high court remarked on Tuesday while hearing a plea regarding the ongoing demolition at Kathputli Colony.

The observation was made by a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar when an NGO representing some residents of the area said jhuggis were demolished in violation of the high court’s October 31 and November 1 orders.

The high court in its two orders had directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) not to demolish the jhuggis of persons who were not eligible for relocation as per the land owning agency.

The NGO has claimed that the directions of the high court were not being strictly complied with by DDA.

It also alleged before the bench that its order on Monday allowing three NGO members to visit the area to identify the slums of people ineligible for relocation was also not followed by the DDA.

A woman activist, who was part of the three member panel, alleged in court that some men at the site misbehaved with her.

Pursuant to the submission, the bench directed the station house officer (SHO) of the area to ensure protection to the three-member panel.

The court also reiterated its earlier order that there should be strict compliance of its directions.

With these directions, the bench listed the matter for hearing on November 16.

The court had on October 31 put on hold the demolition at the site for two weeks, but had modified its order the next day by allowing DDA to demolish jhuggis whose residents were eligible for relocation and had voluntarily moved out of the Kathputli Colony to the transit camps at Narela and Anand Parbat.

Spread over an area of around 14 acres, Kathputli Colony was home to a large number of puppeteers, magicians, singers and musicians.

It is the first slum in the city to be taken up by the DDA for in-situ redevelopment with the help of a private developer, who in turn will get a substantial part of land for commercial use as part of the project.

The stay order had come on a PIL filed through advocate Kamlesh Kumar Mishra, on behalf of the residents and an NGO, National Alliance of People’s Movement, claiming that the DDA issued a notice on October 25 for vacating the area giving them only four days to move out.

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