India Today

Kishan Ganj Railway Line Colony

Kishan Ganj Railway Line Workers Union v. Northern Railway & Ors, WP(C) 2744/2020 | High Court of Delhi | Status: Pending | |

The slum colony in question, near Gopal Mandir, Kishan Ganj, Delhi 110007 is on the Railway line since about 40 years. Today it comprises of about 300 Jhuggis. Almost all the residents work as porters with Railways loading and unloading at the cargo trains halting at Kishan Ganj and Sarai Rohilla Railway station.

Almost all residents are below poverty line, earning about 300-500 rupees a day. As it all depends upon the frequency of the trains, many a day they are without any work and consequently without pay. Most of the residents are in possession of address proof that date prior to 2015 and many others prior to 2006, entitling them to rehabilitation under the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board Policy (DUSIB) 2016.

In September, 2019 an extensive survey of the residents was conducted and the residents were issued survey certificates by the respondent no.2, DUSIB. Residents were assured that they will be rehabilitated in accordance with the DUSIB policy. Then survey certificates, along with other address proofs of the residents were supplied separately as additional documents to this petition.

On 19.02.2020 most of the resident labors were occupied in unloading cargo off the trains arriving at 6 am. At about 12 noon without any prior notice a bull dozer hired b y the Northern Railways, along with 50-60-Armed Railway protection Force, and Delhi police personnel around  the slums; residents were given 15 minutes to vacate their houses; and then the demolition started immediately and by 1pm about 60 houses were demolished.

Leaving aside the legality of the demolition, the manner in which it was conducted was most reckless. Like the electric wires were violently uprooted, making the entire area hazardous; in many instances residents endangered their lives to remove gas cylinders out of the bulldozers  way to prevent greater tragedy. As there was no prior notice, in many cases the entire family was out for work and jhuggis were locked, railways officials criminally broke open the locks and threw   the belongings out in open. In several instances, valuable items have been looted by such officials.

Ms Beena, had taken her daughter to appear in the ongoing 9th standard examinations. She returned home at 2:30 pm and found her house demolished, her belongings like her Television set, Bed, and other furniture broken. 

HRLN petitioned before the Hon High Court of Delhi in WP(C) 2744/2020, on behalf of the residents, challenging the actions of the Northern Railways. We also prayed for the rehabilitation of the residents of Kishan Ganj Railway Colony. Counsel for the petitioners submitted before the Hon  High Court  of  Delhi ,  that the petitioners were entitled to rehabilitation in terms of the extant policy and referred to the judgment of the Supreme Court in Ajay Maken & Ors. vs Union of India & Ors. 2019 SCC OnLine Del 7618 which records, inter alia, as under:

“…35. The Railways filed a separate affidavit stating that in the demolition drive undertaken on 12th December 2015, 3 JCBs and 1 truck were deployed. Counsel for the Railways, on instructions, stated that:
“no further demolition drive will be undertaken by the Railways to remove the JJ bastis and jhuggis in any of its other lands without first consulting DUSIB and the Delhi Administration. He further states that as far as dwellers of the JJ Basti in the cement siding area of Shakur Basti are concerned, the Railways will cooperate with DUSIB in drawing up a proper plan/scheme for in-situ rehabilitation or resettlement consistent with the requirements of the DUSIB Act.”

In view of the above submission Hon  High Court  of  Delhi  directed the respondents that no coercive/adverse action shall be taken against the petitioners.
Read order: