A timely halt – SC must lay down rehabilitation norms for eviction from public spaces

Source: The post is based on the article “A timely halt – SC must lay down rehabilitation norms for eviction from public spaces” published in The Hindu on 9th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS 1 – Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

Relevance: About the land conflicts between the public and the state.

News: Earlier, the Uttarakhand High Court demanded the eviction of around 50,000 people within a week as they are accused of squatting on railway property for decades in Haldwani in Uttarakhand. But recently the Supreme Court has halted the forcible eviction.

What are the directions of the Supreme Court?

The court a) Demanded the need for rehabilitation before eviction, b) The court orders had allowed proceedings against individual occupants under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971, to be complete before eviction.

About the land conflicts between public and state

People tend to encroach on public land as there is a shortage of housing and inadequate recognition of the right to shelter. This often leads to attempts to evict the occupants and spawns litigation.

What are the impacts of land conflicts between the public and the state?

-The public claims occupancy rights based on long years of stay at the same location.

-Court judgments stress rehabilitation measures. But mandatory rehabilitation may prove to be an incentive for encroachment. Further, India does not have a good record on the rehabilitation of evicted people from public spaces.

So, the Supreme Court in the Haldwani eviction case should a) lay down the law on meaningful rehabilitation, b) Prescribe effective prevention of encroachments.

 

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