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Gujarat railway track project: SC extends status quo on demolition of slums till Sept 1

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna extended the order until September 1 after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought time of two days to take instructions in the matter.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
August 26, 2021 2:33:59 am

The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended its status quo order regarding the move to demolish around 5,000 jhuggis for a railway line project in Gujarat.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna extended the order until September 1 after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought time of two days to take instructions in the matter.

On Tuesday, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana had asked authorities to maintain status quo until Wednesday, after it was told that the Gujarat High Court had, on August 19, vacated a July 23, 2014 interim order of status quo and allowed Western Railways to proceed with work for the Surat-Udhna-Jalgaon track project.

Appearing for the petitioner, Surat-based ‘Utran se Besthan Railway Jhopadpatti Vikas Mandal’, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves had told the bench that demolition work would start on Tuesday itself and lead to eviction of slum dwellers, numbering about 10,000.

The Mandal said that given the Covid-19 pandemic situation, it would cause irreparable injury if the slum dwellers are removed without being rehabilitated.

On Wednesday, Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj sought two more days to seek instructions and told the bench that the interim order may continue till then.

The plea said that the move to demolish without providing rehabilitation scheme is “illegal, inhuman” and violative of Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution.

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