Janhastakshep condemns the demolition of thousands of houses in Delhi

slum demolition

Janhastakshep takes serious note of and unequivocally condemns the inhuman, illegal and unethical demolition of thousands of houses (Jhuggis) of the Indian citizens along the railway lines near Keshavpuram and Nangloi in Delhi, the day before yesterday (10th September 2020), by the Railway authorities and Delhi Police under the pretext of Supreme Court Order, 31 august 2020, by a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, known for anti-people and pro-establishment biases. It is to be noted that the Supreme Court order says removal of these inhabitations within 3 months. It is also to be noted that the inhabitants living there for a long time with ration cards a voter’s identity cards on the same address, were not given any prior notice. It is learnt that most of the men had gone out on their works and the women, children and old people, who were present were brutally attacked when they pleaded for time and were not allowed to remove their luggage, which were destroyed in the demolition spree. This act has thrown thousands of citizens on road rendering them shelter less in the stark violation of their fundamental right to life, as right to shelter is part of right to life. It is learnt that these people have been living there for over 30-40 years and according the established constitutional conventions cannot be removed from their settlements without providing them with alternative accommodation nearby. In their various judgments the Supreme Court and several high courts have held ‘right to shelter’ as fundamental right. In its celebrated judgment on 11th February 2010, in the case of Sudama Singh and others v/s Government of Delhi, the Delhi High Court has held “ ……the removal of their Jhuggies without ensuring their relocation would amount to gross violation of their Fundamental Rights”. As the said order of the Supreme Court has not overruled the abovementioned judgment, hence it continues to remain as the settled law. Thus the action of the railway authorities in collusion with Delhi Police is illegal and violation of the set procedures of the law that warrants Suo-moto cognizance of the court for proceeding with contempt of the court case against them. Though the railway authorities have submitted an estimate of around 48,000 houses (Jhuggies) to be affected along the railway lines, but it is generally estimated that the number would run into several lakhs.

As is well known that the present government is seeks to  “disinvest (sell out)” all the public sector assets including Indian railways having plenty of land around and along the railway lines and stations. The prospective buyers of railways, the corporate houses, particularly the crony capitalists dependent upon government assistance for huge profits, have their eyes fixed on the railway land as invaluable real estate. Until the inhabitants of that land are evicted the future owners of the railways cannot enjoy the unhindered use of its real estate. The Supreme Court decision is in conformity with recent record of its subservient role to executive.

Janhastakshep demands:

  1. Immediate appropriate rehabilitation of evicted citizens of India with due compensation.
  2. Stay on any further demolition of Jhuggies before providing the dwellers with alternative accommodation.
  3. Halt the disinvestment process of public sector assets including Indian Railways.


Prof. Ish Mishra (Convener)

Dr. Vikas Bajpeyi (Co-convener)



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