Says all major cities have turned into slums
New Delhi, Dec. 16 (Delhi Crown): In a key observation made on Thursday, the Supreme Court of India said all major cities have turned into slums and that it’s the primary responsibility of the local governments to check encroachments, hence must start owning it.
During a hearing of encroachment cases related to the Indian Railways’ eviction drive against jhuggis from its property, the Supreme Court expressed anguish at the slum problem in cities, and called for a strict action by local body authorities against encroachments.
The Court said that the failure of the authorities in taking timely action against public encroachments was the “root of the problem”.
“All major cities have turned into slums. Look at any city, Chandigarh might be an exception but there are problems in Chandigarh as well. That is happening everywhere. Let us rise to reality and think how the problem has to be resolved,” Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, the presiding judge of the bench, observed during the hearing.
The SC judge went on to add that the primary responsibility was with the local authority. “The primary responsibility of ensuring that there is no encroachment is that of the local government. The Local governments must start taking responsibility. This is a sad story going on for 75 years and we are celebrating the 75th year of independence next year!.”
The bench further observed – “The time has come for the corporations to take the responsibility of removing the encroachment. They (encroachers) move to other districts and other encroachers may take part in the rehabilitation. That is the sad story and it is ultimately the taxpayers’ money which will go down the drain.”
The SC bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and C.T. Ravikumar was hearing special leave petitions (SLPs) assailing Gujarat and Punjab and Haryana High Courts allowing the eviction of unauthorized settlers along railway lines.
During the hearing, the bench said that the railways cannot be let off the hook of their responsibility.