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'50,000 People Cannot Be Evicted Overnight': SC Stays Uttarakhand HC Order In Haldwani Case

A bench comprising Justice SK Kaul and Justice Abhay S Oka emphasises that it's a human issue and a 'workable solution' must be found to not evict people in Haldwani’s Banbhoolpura area in the biting cold. 

Haldwani protest
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In a major relief to families in Uttarkhand's Haldwani area, the Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the order of the Uttarakhand High Court that had ordered the eviction of people on Railway's land.

Delivering its order, the SC ruled, "There needs to be clarity on whether complete land vests in Railways or what land belongs to the state... 50,000 people cannot be evicted overnight."

A bench comprising Justice SK Kaul and Justice Abhay S Oka emphasises that it's a human issue and a "workable solution" must be found out to not evict people in Haldwani’s Banbhoolpura area in the biting cold. 

Observing that a workable arrangement is necessary, it posted the matter for further hearing on February 7.

“There is a human angle to the problem, these are people. Something will have to be worked out,” Justice SK Kaul noted.

It said that a rehabilitation of the families needs to be first sought while keeping in mind the needs of the Railways department. 

The court also stopped any construction in the area and sought responses from the railways and the Uttarakhand government.
Supreme Court Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices SA Nazeer and PS Narasimha took up the case a day after activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan made a formal request.

Starting Sunday, around 4,000 families living in unauthorised colonies near Haldwani railway station started receiving eviction notices with a 7-day period to vacate the area, following an order from the Uttarakhand High Court. 

According to Nainital district officials, a total of 4,365 encroachments will be removed from the area. The residents, some of whom have been living there for decades, have been protesting against the court order.

On December 20, the Uttarakhand High Court ordered the demolition of constructions over encroached railway land at Banbhoolpura in Haldwani. Following this, the railway officials said they have begun the process of demolishing the houses and other structures built on the 2.2 km strip of railway land.

The state government has said that they have no say in the matter as the land belonged to that of the Railways and the High Court ruled the order in favour of the Railways after hearing all the parties in a case which went on for almost a decade.

According to a statement by Jamaat-e-Islami Hind,  the land dispute has been of 29 acres of land while people living in 79 acres of land have been served the notice. And this would render more than 50,000 people homeless. 

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