New Delhi: The MCD has assured the Delhi High Court that it would not launch any drive to demolish hutments (jhuggi-jhopri cluster) in illegal colonies on its land.
"The counsel for MCD has stated that till the next date of hearing, the MCD is not taking any demolition as alleged," a vacation bench of justices Veena Birbal and Manmohan Singh said and fixed the matter for hearing by a regular court on September 20.
The response of the civic agency came on a PIL by `Jhuggi Jhopri Ekta Manch`, an NGO that works on housing rights for slum dwellers, alleging that the MCD officials recently reached Arjun Das Cluster in East Kidwai Nagar here with bulldozers to raze around 450 shanties.
The PIL, filed through lawyers Mohit Chaudhary and Puja Sharma, said "the right to shelter is a fundamental right, as declared by the Supreme Court in several judgements" and it cannot be denied to the `jhuggi` dwellers in this case also.
Earlier in 2009 also, the MCD had undertaken a demolition drive in JJ clusters and had razed some shanties without any notice to the residents there on the ground that the land was needed for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the petition said.
"No effort was made to provide rehabilitation for the residents prior to or after the demolition. While the MCD verbally informed some residents that the area was required for the Commonwealth Games, nothing has been done with the land till date and many residents have continued to live there," it said.
The MCD again came back to demolish jhuggies on June 9 which led to the filing of the PIL and the court restrained it from razing the shanties. The JJ cluster has 95 jhuggies with approximately 450 residents.