800 houses facing demolition at Dhobi Ghat, Batla House, Jamia Nagar, Okhla, Delhi-25

Shakil Ahmed v. Delhi Development Authority & Ors, WP(C) No. 7032 of 2020 | High Court of Delhi at New Delhi | Status: Disposed off |

On 24.9.2020 at about 10 am, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in its usual manner, without so much as a whispering of warning arrived at the slum colony, Dhobi Ghat, Batla House, Jamia Nagar, Okhla, Delhi-25 Batla House, along with several officials, workmen, bulldozers and dozens of policemen. They demolished the shanties to the ground and within them lives and livelihood of its residents.  Several houses had their valuables buried underneath. To top it all, DDA prevented the residents from retrieving any belongings, and the debris was loaded on to the trunks and taken away.

HRLN petitioned the Delhi High Court on behalf of 2 residents and the matter came to be heard on 25.9.2020, the DDA attempted to took refuse under some NGT order requiring it to remove the encroachments from the Yamuna Flood plain. Neither this order was placed before the Court nor any document providing that the Batla House slum was indeed on the Yamuna Floodplain. Recourse was also made to an ex-parte order passed by the Chief Justice of the High Court where a stay granted by a single judge was lifted without affording slum dwellers a hearing.

HRLN successfully persuaded the Court to give 5 days’ stay on demolition in order to approach the division bench for clarification and rehabilitation of the slum dwellers.