Khori villagers in Faridabad move SC for rehabilitation for all

July 18, 2021
File photo
File photo

NEW DELHI: Facing demolition of their unauthorised homes built over Aravali forest in Faridabad, the residents of Khori Village have approached Supreme Court seeking its direction for rehabilitation of all of them and challenged the Haryana government policy as per which only those who had been occupying the land prior to 2003 would be rehabilitated.

Invoking their right to adequate shelter, Priwasee Sangthan Welfare Society moved SC through advocate Mohit Paul and contended that the denial of a proper rehabilitation of the inhabitants of Khori Gaon will render them homeless in this pandemic and sought court’s interference.

“Right to housing has been regarded as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Even the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna-Urban does not provide any cut-off date for rehabilitation. The said rehabilitation scheme is open. The purpose of state policies should be to implement the right to housing and not to limit it to the extent that it is rendered meaningless. If the state of Haryana does not re-open the rehabilitation scheme then thousands of residents of Khori Gaon will be rendered homeless and will not be entitled to any benefits under the scheme,” the petition said.

The Haryana government’s rehabilitation policy, framed pursuant to the SC order of February 19, 2020, provided for rehabilitation of those who had been living in the unauthorised village before 2003. The present lot facing the demolition of houses in Khori village settled there after 2010.

Pleading for court’s sympathetic intervention, the petitioner said that the majority of the residents of Khori Gaon colony are employed in the unorganised sector, did not receive formal education, and thus lack the awareness and resources required to maintain proper documentation, especially dating back prior to 2004.

“It’s to be submitted that access to adequate housing can be a precondition for the enjoyment of several human rights, including the rights to work, health, social security, vote, privacy, or education. The possibility of earning a living can be seriously impaired when a person has been relocated following a forced eviction to a place removed from employment opportunities. Without proof of residency, homeless persons may not be able to enjoy social services or receive health care,” the petition said.

“It is the responsibility of the courts to reduce inequalities and social imbalances by striking down statutes that perpetuate them. The right to live and the right to work are integrated and inter-dependent and, therefore, if a person is deprived of his job as a result of his eviction from a slum or a pavement, his very right to life is put in jeopardy. The denial of a proper rehabilitation is going to be deterrent to the interest of the inhabitants of Khori Gaon who will be rendered homeless in this pandemic,” the petition said.

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