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Supreme Court stays demolition of shelter homes in Delhi, directs authorities to inform it first before going for demolition

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed demolition of all temporary shelter homes located in Delhi and directed the Delhi police, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and all other authorities in the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNTCD) to first inform the Apex Court before doing so.

The Apex Court passed the order on a petition challenging the demolition of three temporary shelter homes located in Geeta Ghat (for people with special needs).

Earlier on February 15, the Apex Court had heard an urgent matter related to the demolition of a night shelter for the homeless in Sarai Kale Khan by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). 

The matter was mentioned by Advocate Prashant Bhushan before Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, who said that it was listed before the Bench of Justice Ravindra Bhat and Justice Dipankar Datta. 

The Counsel then submitted that since Justice Bhat was not sitting and the demolition had already commenced, the matter needed urgent hearing. 

The CJI then listed the matter before the Bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice Dipankar Datta, stating that since Justice Datta was sitting with Justice Bhat, it had to be mentioned there.

Bhushan contended that the demolition was ordered on Tuesday night and was scheduled to start at 10:30 am. However, the authorities came to know about the matter being listed before the Apex Court today and so, the process was preponed. The Counsel showed the pictures of demolition and said it was happening right now.

By the time the matter was taken up by the Bench comprising Justice Roy and Justice Datta, the night shelter, which housed 50 homeless residents, had already been demolished. 

The Bench then observed that nothing could be done now, since the urgency element had gone. However, the Apex Court said it would deal with the aspect related to rehabilitation of the affected persons and tagged the matter with similar cases related to shelter homes.

The petition had challenged demolition on the ground that no alternative arrangement was provided to the occupants of the shelter home. 

Bhushan contended that the decision to demolish the shelter was taken at a meeting of the State Level Shelter Monitoring Committee (SLSMC), following a proposal floated by the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB).

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