Housing Rights of the Urban Poor | UPSC

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IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 12th Sep 2020

The best way to gain self-confidence is to do what you are afraid to do. – Swati Sharma

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL HUNT #133 :“Housing Rights of the Urban Poor | UPSC

Housing Rights of the Urban Poor | UPSC

Mathew Idiculla
Housing Rights of the Urban Poor | UPSC

Mathew Idiculla is a lawyer and researcher on urban issues and a consultant with the Centre for Law and Policy Research.

      HEADLINES:

Smothering the housing rights of the urban poor

      CENTRAL THEME:

A Court order, on Delhi’s slum dwellings, threatens to undo the promise of the right to housing offered in earlier verdicts

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : Urban Planning : Infrastructure

      MAINS QUESTION:

Urban shelters in the shades of railway lines are evicted without rehabilitation. Enumerate steps for proper evacuation plan.  -(GS 3)

      LEARNING: 

  • The Verdict
  • Flaws in Order
  • Landmark Judgements

      INTRODUCTION: 

In a short order with devastating consequences, the Supreme Court of India on August 31 ordered the removal of about 48,000 slum dwellings situated along the railway tracks in Delhi.

  • A three-judge Bench directed State authorities to remove the jhuggi jhopri clusters in the railway safety zone within a period of three months.
  • Most shockingly, the order stated that “no Court shall grant any stay with respect to removal of the encroachments” and in case any such interim order is granted “that shall not be effective”.
  • The Court observed that there is a “predominant presence” of slums in close vicinity of the 140 km-long railway line in Delhi.
  • The Court ordered that these “encroachments”should be removed within three months and “no interference, political or otherwise, should be there.”

      BODY: 

A FLAWED ORDER

  • CONCERNS : The SC order which seeks to summarily demolish informal settlements of poor urban residents is deeply disturbing and raises serious legal questions.
  • ABANDONING PRINCIPLES : The order is fundamentally flawed because the Court has ignored principles of natural justice, judicial precedents on the right to shelter, and state policies governing evictions.

DUE PROCESS OF LAW : The order violates due process since it decided on the removal of jhuggi jhopris without hearing the affected party, the jhuggi dwellers.

  • LONG-RUNNING CASE : The order was passed in the long-running case, M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India & Ors., regarding pollution in Delhi .
  • OTHER PARTIES : The order was in response to a report by Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority for the National Capital Region on the piling up of garbage along railway tracks.
  • LITTLE CONNECTION : However, neither this case nor the report concerns itself with the legality of informal settlements.
  • FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS : The Court ignored its long-standing jurisprudence on the right to livelihood and shelter upheld in various judgments.

LANDMARK DECISIONS

  • OLGA TELLIS & ORS VS. BOMBAY MUNICIPAL CORPORATION : Concerning pavement-dwellers, a five-judge Bench held that the right to life also includes the “right to livelihood” and that no eviction shall take place without notice and hearing those affected.
  • CHAMELI SINGH VS. STATE OF U.P : The Supreme Court recognised the “right to shelter” as a component of the right to life under Article 21 and freedom of movement under Article 19(1)(e).
  • SUDAMA SINGH & OTHERS VS GOVERNMENT OF DELHI : The High Court of Delhi held that prior to any eviction, a survey must be conducted and those evicted should have a right to “meaningful engagement” with the relocation plans.
  • AJAY MAKEN & ORS. VS UNION OF INDIA : Delhi High Court invoked the idea of the “Right to the City” to uphold the housing rights of slum dwellers.

      IASbhai Windup: 

EVICTIONS AMID PANDEMIC

  • HELPLESS PEOPLE : The Supreme Court order that threatens to leave lakhs of people homeless amid a health and economic emergency is callous and unconscionable.

As the pandemic makes its floor – UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing has called on member-states to declare an end to forced evictions.

  • MASS DISPLACEMENT : Over 20,000 people were displaced in 45 incidents of forced evictions between March 25 and July 31-Housing and Land Rights Network
  • MASTER-PLANNING : Over the last three years, over five lakh people have been evicted, most often for various “city beautification” projects.
  • RIGHT TO THE CITY : It is often through such political negotiations that residents of informal settlements incrementally make claims on housing and exercise their “Right to the City.
  • TRAIL AND ERROR : These residents would now need to employ a combination of political and legal strategies to protect their housing rights and ensure that no eviction or rehabilitation is conducted without their prior informed consent.
       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Housing Rights of the Urban Poor | UPSC

 

TRENDING NOW : Important The Hindu Editorials 

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