Delhi HC asks Centre not to evict Kashmiri Pandits

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 22:39

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday
restrained the Centre from evicting Kashmiri Pandits, who fled
the Valley following outbreak of militancy, from government
quarters here after their retirement and directed it to
provide them alternative residence in the capital.

Justice Gita Mittal said that right to shelter is
a fundamental right and the displaced members of the community
cannot be forced to evict as in the present situation they
cannot go back to the Valley because of government`s failure
to ensure their safety there.

The High Court pulled up the government for
threatening to forcibly evict the Kashmiri Pandits and
directed it to pay a cost of Rs 25,000 to each of the
petitioners.

The court passed the order on a bunch of petitions
filed by 24 central government employees, all Kashmiri Pandits
who were working in Kashmir Valley but were transferred to the
capital as the community was targeted by militants from 1989.

The petitioners sought a direction to restrain the
Centre from evicting them from government quarters.

"The petitioners may be compelled to return to the
violent situation where from they were forced to flee. Forcing
the petitioners to return to the area where they were
persecuted violates the principles of International Law
forbidding the expulsion of a refuse into an area where such
person might be again subjected to persecution," the court
said.

"The order cancelling the allotment of the
petitioners, the order of eviction are hereby set aside and
quashed," the court said adding "till such time the government
is able to provide alternative accommodation, the petitioners
shall be allowed to retain the allotted accommodation".

The court said that the judgement would be applicable
in all such cases where the state has been unable to ensure
safety and security of people in case they return to the place
of their residence.

The High Court observed, "Instead of facilitating the
resettlement and rehabilitation of the petitioners who are
internally displaced persons as per the declared policy, they
have arbitrarily been exposed to the additional trauma of the
threat of forcible evictions and the uncertainty of seeking
the adjudication by pursuing the litigation.

"In these circumstances, the petitioners are entitled
to exemplary costs from the respondents in as much as the
threat of forcible eviction by the process resorted to by the
respondents impacts the fundamental rights of the
petitioners," the court said.

-PTI



First Published: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 22:39

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