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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Janta Colony: Punjab and Haryana HC orders stay on demolition until June 1

The petitioners sought directions from Chandigarh Administration to make arrangements for alternative accommodations for them in view of the judgment of the Supreme Court, with such eviction rendering slum dwellers homeless.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
May 14, 2022 4:17:47 am
Residents have taken down parts of Janta Colony in Sector 25, Chandigarh, on their own, before the UT Administration reclaims 10 acres of land. (Express Photo by Jasbir Malhi)

The Punjab and Haryana High Court said that Janta Colony, Sector 25, Chandigarh, cannot be demolished till next date of hearing, which is June 1, 2022, on Friday. The HC was hearing a petition filed by Davinder and others (also residents of the colony), through counsel, Sanjeev Kumar Yadav and Shadad Ahmad, seeking to restrain the Chandigarh Administration from evicting them from Janta Colony during pendency of the petition. The petition also seeks to quash the notice of eviction stating it to be illegal, arbitrary, unreasonable, being in violation of the policy dated November 6, 2006.

The petitioners sought directions from Chandigarh Administration to make arrangements for alternative accommodations for them in view of the judgment of the Supreme Court, with such eviction rendering slum dwellers homeless.

Hearing the matter, division Bench of Justice Amol Rattan Singh and Justice Lalit Batra, raised a query to the Senior Standing Counsel, Anil Mehta, appearing for Chandigarh, as to whether the petitioners’ case has been considered under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) scheme. Mehta submitted that the petitioners were not found eligible. He also referred to an order passed by a co-ordinate Bench of the HC of 2016, hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), stating that the Bench did not interfere in the matter. The court, at the time, had stayed the demolition of a few other colonies. However, the stay was not extended.

The current Bench further raised a query to Mehta if the PMAY scheme of 2015 was also a subject matter of that petition, which it was not.

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The Bench thus directed, “If that is so, we do not see how citing a scheme of the year 2006 and a petition in which the aforesaid Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana of 2015 is not even an issue, can even vaguely determine the case of the petitioners… The competent authority not less in rank than the Secretary, Housing and Urban Development (by whatever nomenclature the person so concerned is designated), shall file his own affidavit in reply to each paragarh of the petition, also stating as to whether or not the petitioners are covered by the eligibility conditions set down under the provisions of the aforesaid Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, 2015 or not; and if not, detailed reasons for that.”

The Bench while adjourning the matter for June 1, 2022, said, “In the meantime, in view of what was contained in clause 4 of the aforesaid scheme, the colony in which the petitioners are residing shall not be demolished till the next date of hearing.”

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