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Report No. 138

4.8. Removal of obstructions and natural justice.-

The judgment then dealt with section 314 of the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act 1888, which authorises the Commissioner to remove, without notice, certain obstructions. The court took the view that the procedure should be reasonable and this implied the requirement of notice. Examining the implications of this section, the court expressed itself as under regarding the pavement dwellers: -1

"But, though we do not see any justification for asking the Commissioner to hear the petitioners, we propose to pass an order which, we believe, he would or should have passed, had he granted a hearing to them and heard what we did. We are of the opinion that the petitioners should not be evicted from the pavements, footpaths or accessory roads until one month after the conclusion of the current monsoon season, that is to say, until October 31, 1985.

In the meanwhile, as explained later*, steps may be taken to offer alternative pitches to the pavement dwellers who were or who happened, to be censused in 1976. The offer of alternative pitches to such pavement dwellers should be made good in the spirit in which it was made, though we do not propose to make it a condition precedent to the removal of the encroachments committed by them."

1. Ibid., p. 202, para.51.

* See para. 4.11, infra.

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