Temple architecture

Delhi High Court urges state to consider providing alternative accommodation for evicted Jhuggi residents

The Delhi High Court observed that when a land is used for public purposes, if the occupants of the jhuggis or slums are evicted, the state’s goal is to provide them with alternative accommodation after the required surveys have been completed and data collected.

Judge Pratibha M Singh reiterated the said observation while dealing with a bunch of pleas regarding the maintenance and redevelopment aspect of the city’s Kalkaji Temple.

While the Court had previously clarified that none of the occupants who illegally occupy the temple premises may remain in possession, it noted that there were jhuggi residents and Dharamshala occupants who had not vacated the said premises. .

“In terms of these prior orders of this Court, it is clear that the occupants of Dharamshala are unauthorized occupiers and have no legal right to reside on said premises,” said the court.

He added “As for the people of jhuggi, they too have no vested right to occupy the premises, which are temple premises. the people who leave the premises of Kalkaji Mandir, can be explored.”

Referring to the relevant judgments rendered by the Supreme Court, the Court observed the following:

“A reading of the above judgments would show that in the case of land use for public purposes, if the occupants of the jhuggis/slums are evicted, the objective of the state is to provide them with alternative accommodation, after the carrying out the required surveys and collecting the data.”

Accordingly, the court ordered the Delhi Development Authority, DUSIB and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to jointly undertake a survey of the temple premises and compile a list of the number of occupants and the number of families who still dwell in the jhuggis as well as the Dharamshalas.

The Court said the inquest will begin on March 8, 2022 and end on March 10, 2022.

The following directions were issued by the Court:

– Vice President, DDA, CEO DUSIB, and Commissioner, SDMC and DCP, South East Delhi who are present at the hearing will hold a joint meeting and report on how the whole The premises of Kalkaji Mandir can be fully vacated.

– The report should also clarify whether rehabilitation/shelter can be provided to the inhabitants of jhuggi, so that the redevelopment can start in the premises of Kalkaji Mandir.

– With regard to the unauthorized occupants of Dharamshalas, the orders to release the premises in their occupation have already been passed. At the meeting of the authorities as indicated above, an appropriate timetable will be discussed for the eviction of said occupants.

– It is pointed out by some of the counsel appearing in the case that only part of the land used for the Mandir belongs to the DDA and SDMC and the rest of the land does not belong to any government authority. The Court notes that irrespective of the ownership of separate portions of land within the premises of Kalkaji Mandir, it is undisputed that the entire land is used for public purposes, i.e. as a temple. Given this position, the authorities hold the discussion and submit the report.

– The meeting of these four officers will be held on 11 March 2022 by Vice President, DDA at 4:00 p.m. at DDA office at Vikas Sadan, Barapullah Rd, adjacent to SBI Bank, Aviation Colony, INA Colony, New Delhi, Delhi-110023. The report will be submitted to the Master of the Court on March 14, 2022.

The Court, however, clarified that the order was made in the particular facts of the case which involved premises of the Mandir where thousands of worshipers visit daily and that the redevelopment of this Mandir was in the public interest. The Court said the same would not apply in other factual situations.

The Court therefore scheduled the case for a rehearing on March 15.

Earlier, the Court ordered authorities including the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Delhi Development Authority and Delhi Police to ensure that its orders are implemented to root out all unlawful encroachments on the temple premises. of Kalkaji, on time.

Previously, the Court had given many directives regarding the administration and maintenance of the temple as well as for the resolution of disputes over bari rights between baridaars to ensure the smooth running of the temple.

He had expressed concerns about the “dismal” upkeep of the temple and also asked the local commissioner to verify the collections/donations made to the temple and to check if the CCTV cameras installed inside its premises are operational.

It was reiterated that reports submitted by previous receivers and the local commissioner showed that the cleanliness and maintenance of the temple complex was unsatisfactory.

The Court had requested a report on the establishment of stores as well as the basic civic amenities available to worshipers inside the temple premises. He ordered the court-appointed architect to submit a full report after a meeting with the administrator.

He had appointed a local commissioner to make surprise visits to the temple to check on the conduct of ‘puja sewa’, collection of offerings placed in donation boxes and also other matters regarding cleanliness, hygiene and facilities for the faithful.


Quote: 2022 LiveLaw (Deleted) 191

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