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SC Directs Removal of Jhuggis from Railway safety zone. Disabled Courts from interfering

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Supreme Court Directs South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and railways to create an action plan within three months to evict illegal encroachments next to 140 KM of railway tracks in the capital

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and railways will create an action plan within three months to Remove illegal encroachments next to 140 KM of railway tracks in the capital. “No interference, political or otherwise, should be there and no court shall grant any stay with respect to removal of the encroachments,” SC said in its order.

This was his last orders delivered by a Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra, who retired on Wednesday, the court declared “no interference, political or otherwise, should be there” against their removal.

A Railway affidavit in the court said there is a “predominant presence” of slum dwellings along 140 km of rail tracks in Delhi.

“Out of this, about 70 km route length of track is affected by large jhuggie jhopri clusters existing in close vicinity of the tracks. These clusters sum up to a total of about 48,000 numbers of jhuggies in the region adjacent to railway tracks,” the court order of August 31 said.

The court further directed the Railways and local authorities in Delhi to remove plastic waste, garbage, etc, piled up alongside the tracks within three months.

It ordered a meeting among the Railways, Delhi government, municipal corporations and the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Trust to be called next week. Work to remove the garbage should start immediately thereafter.

Railways shall bear 70% of the expenses and the rest will be given by the Delhi government, the court directed.

“The manpower is to be provided by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), Railways and agencies available with the government, free of cost. They will not charge it from each other. SDMC, Railways and other agencies should ensure that their contractors do not put the waste/garbage on the sides of the railway tracks,” the court ordered.

The Supreme Court will take up the matter for compliance after one month.

The Order has been passed by the Bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra , Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Krishna Murari exercising plenary power under Article 142 of the Constitution of India. The Court was hearing an application filed in the MC Mehta case relating to Delhi pollution matters , after the Indian Railways informed the court that despite a Special Task Force constituted to remove encroachments, political interference was coming in the way of getting the jhuggis removed. An order for removal of all encroachments passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on October 1, 2018 had led to the formation of the task force.

Supreme court observed: “There is predominant presence of jhuggies in Delhi along with 140km route length of railway track in the region of NCT of Delhi… Out of this, about 70km route length of track is affected by large jhuggie jhopri clusters existing in close vicinity of the tracks.”

Supreme Court said “The encroachments which are there in the safety zones should be removed within a period of three months and no interference, political or otherwise, should be there, and no court shall grant any stay with respect to removal of the encroachments in the area in question. In case any interim order is granted with respect to encroachments which have been made along with railway tracks, that shall not be effective.”