Haldwani Encroachment Case: The Supreme Court has stayed Uttarakhand High Court’s order directing the removal of encroachments from 29 acres of railway land in Haldwani saying that “50,000 people can’t be uprooted overnight”.

The apex court also issued notice to the Uttarakhand government and Indian Railways on the pleas challenging Uttarakhand High Court’s decision ordering the State authorities to remove encroachments from railway land in Haldwani’s Banbhoolpura area.

Reactions On Order

Reacting to the order, Uttarkhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said that the state government will proceed as per the top court’s order.

“We’ve said earlier also it is a railway land. We will proceed as per the court’s order”, Dhami told ANI.

Former Uttarakhand CM and Congress leader said that the judgment of the Supreme Court will protect human rights.

“We all were worried about demolition rendering 52,000 people homeless. SC stayed the demolition. In 2016, we took steps regarding the rehabilitation of the people,” he said, quoted ANI.

One of the petitioners’ advocates, Lubna Naaz told ANI, “The Supreme Court said there will be no construction on that land. Rehabilitation scheme to be kept in mind. There are schools, colleges and other solid structures that cannot be demolished like this.”


What The Court Said: Verification Of Documents

While pronouncing the order, the court said, “50,000 people can’t be uprooted overnight.”

The court added that to displace so many people, a rehabilitation strategy is necessary before taking any action. “If it is your land, you are permitted to develop it. But if so many people have stayed there for so long, some rehabilitation must be done for them,” the bench said.

The court noted that there could be two categories of people in the case-one who have a claim over the land and others who don’t. Now, a system must be created to verify and check the documents that the residents have with them.

What The Court Said: Rehabilitation Of Residents

“You need to create a system where all these documents are verified whatever they are showing”, the court observed.

“A workable arrangement is necessary to segregate people who may have rights or no rights over the land, coupled with schemes of rehabilitation which already exist while recognising the need of the railways”, it added.

The court also asked the ASG to formulate a rehabilitation scheme and ensure no more construction or development is done on the disputed land.

The bench said, “We have put to the ASG that full rehabilitation of the persons in the area is needed. Issue notice. Meanwhile, there shall be a stay of the directions passed in the impugned order. There should also be a restraint on any more construction or development on the land.”

The court posted the matter for hearing on February 7.

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