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Gandhi Ashram development project: AMC relies on 2005 HC order to oppose plea by slum dwellers

An affidavit submitted before the HC last week by deputy estate officer at AMC Hitendra Makwana states that the petition by the slum dwellers is "not tenable under the law" as it is filed on "absolute apprehension, assumption and presumption".

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
December 22, 2021 3:08:41 am
After protest by dwellers, officials who had gone to raze the dwellings had postponed the work. (Photo: Nirmal Harindran)

Opposing a plea seeking rehabilitation by 55 slum dwellers residing on a government land which will be part of the Gandhi Ashram Precinct Development Project, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) told the Gujarat High Court that the encroachment were subject to removal by way of a HC order of 2005.

An affidavit submitted before the HC last week by deputy estate officer at AMC Hitendra Makwana states that the petition by the slum dwellers is “not tenable under the law” as it is filed on “absolute apprehension, assumption and presumption”.

The civic body, in its affidavit, also relied on a high court order over a 2003 suo motu petition.

In 2003, the Gujarat HC had taken suo motu cognisance of a letter written by one Iqbal Suthar to the then Gujarat governor, wherein it was stated that “some anti-social elements have been trying to take possession of the land of Gandhi Ashram.”

Suthar, in his letter, had also stated that if action is not taken immediately in the matter, “he would be constrained to adopt the course of self-immolation.” In the suo motu litigation, the HC in 2005, had directed AMC “to remove the encroachment in accordance with law as expeditiously as possible,” from the approach road abutting to Gandhi Ashram.

Citing the HC order and the 2003 litigation, the AMC has submitted that following the HC directions, at the time a survey was conducted and 31 dwelling units which were occupied and/or encroaching upon the said town planning (TP) scheme road were subjected to removal by the AMC following due process of law.

“Thus it would become clear that earlier also, the encroachment upon the TP road abutting to Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad were subject to removal by the answering corporation. Be that as it may,…the answering Corporation would not initiate any eviction process and/or demolition upon the TP road in question, without following due procedure of law..,” the AMC affidavit states.

The matter is listed for hearing on Wednesday.

On November 23, officials of the AMC and Ahmedabad district collectorate had gone to the dwelling site, situated opposite Sabarmati Ashram, to raze the dwellings but had to postpone the work due to protests by the dwellers. After the dwellers moved Gujarat HC seeking the court’s intervention, the authorities maintained status quo.

The 55 petitioners are seeking that they be provided with an alternative accommodation within the vicinity or area and that the court direct the respondents to consider either providing ex gratia to the petitioners or an alternative parcel of land.

They have also submitted that they would be eligible for benefits under the Regulations for the Rehabilitation & Redevelopment of the Slums, 2010.

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