50,000 people can’t be uprooted overnight: Supreme Court stays Haldwani eviction

Hindustan Times | Jan 05, 2023

The Supreme Court stayed the Uttarakhand high court order of Haldwani eviction and asked for a workable arrangement to address the ‘land encroachment’ issue. The matter will be heard next on February 7.

The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the planned eviction of the railways in the ‘encroached’ land in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani and said a workable arrangement has to be devised as 50,000 people can’t be uprooted overnight. In its order, the Supreme Court said the government will have to provide full rehabilitation of the people of the area. “In the meantime, there shall be a stay of the directions passed in the impugned order,” the Apex Court said barring any new construction or development on the land.

The bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S Oka said 50,000 people can not be uprooted in seven days. As Justice SK Kaul heard the matter, he said there are many aspects in the case and people have been staying in the land for years; and there are establishments. “How can you say in seven days clear them off?” Justice Kaul said, as reported by LiveLaw

The eviction was supposed to begin from January 10 based on the Uttarakhand high court order against which massive protests were going on in Haldwani. The protests by the residents who have been living in the area for decades gathered support from political parties like the Congress, Samajwadi Party, and AIMIM.

The case has now been listed for its next hearing on February 7.

Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami reacted to the stay order and said the government will proceed as per the court’s order.

As the ASG contested that freeing the ‘railway land’ is crucial for the development of the state, Justice Kaul said a workable arrangement is necessary to segregate people “who may have rights/no rights couples with schemes of rehabilitation which already exists while recognising the need of the railways”.

The proposed demolition would affect over 50,000 residents, 4,365 houses, public and private schools, temples, mosques and business establishments. The protesters claimed they have proper documents, registrations of their properties which are now being termed as ‘encroachment’.