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Report No. 138

6.2. Difficulties.-

We further apprehend that the courts would also be finding themselves faced with difficult situations. The reason, we presume, is this. On the one hand, the provisions in enactments, relating to municipalities leave almost no option to the Municipal Authority except to, take action for the eviction of unauthorised occupants of slums and pavements. On the other hand, with the expanding dimensions of Article 21 of the Constitution (which are wide but uncertain), courts realise that life and shelter go together. Without a roof over the head, neither body nor soul can function effectively.

To balance the statutory power of eviction contained in legislation relating to Municipalities against the implications of the right to life is not an easy task. No doubt, courts have, within the limitations resulting from statutory law, attempted to give relief on some basis or the other. Sometimes they are able to find that Government has given an assurance to help slum dwellers and on the strength of this assurance, effective relief can be given by the judges. Occasionally, the courts are able to give relief resorting to various principles regarding grant or refusal of injunctions or other discretionary relief. The principles of natural justice also come to the rescue of the litigant but only to a limited degree.

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