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Report No. 138

4.16. Gujarat case: Interim Order.-

In a Gujarat case interim mandatory injunction was granted by lower court against hutment dwellers for eviction from public roads. Interim order was passed by the trial court directing the eviction of hutment dwellers. It was held to be not justified. The plaintiff had no prima facie case whatsoever, so as to override the rights and interests of numerous citizens. No doubt, the hutment dwellers were occupying the public roads in contravention of some statutory provisions. But, according to the High Court, to evict them, would endanger their very "right to exist" and would encroach upon their fundamental right to life.

On the one side, there was a question of life and death of the hutment dwellers and, on other side, there was the question of uneconomic user of the plot by the plaintiff. The Court was duty bound to protect the lives of the vast majority of the poor people, as against the profits and comforts of a few individuals. Thus, the balance of convenience was held to be not in favour of the plaintiff and an interim mandatory order directing the authorities to remove encroachments from public roads could not be passed.1

1. Surat Municipal Corporation v. Rameshchandra Shantilal Parikh, AIR 1986 Guj 50 (A.P. Ravani, J.).

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