Report No. 138
Conclusions and Recommendations Conclusions
9.1. With nearly 3.5 crores of citizens of India living in sub-human condition in slums and on pavements of metropolitan cities of India, the rest of the members of the community cannot sleep in peace with an easy conscience. In any event the community cannot watch their plight non-chalantly when the slum and pavement dwellers are evicted by the local authorities without providing them any alternative facility even from these slums and pavements, so often, razing their huts to the ground with the help of bulldozers in the course of their slum removal operations.
9.2. The existing slum clearance legislations enacted by different states by and large focus on protection of tenants of privately-owned uninhabitable chawls, owners where of are not interested even in maintaining the same in habitable conditions, inasmuch as these are liable to collapse and result in loss of life and/or are rendered unfit for human habitation on account of falling in disrepair and in order to remedy prevailing insanitary conditions giving rise to diseases and epidemics.
9.3. Presently there exists no legislation affording any protection to the slum and pavement dwellers in the event of their being evicted from these slums or pavements by the local authorities, apart from the fact that there is no social security scheme designed to rehabilitate them on their eviction.
There is, therefore, a pressing need, in the light of constitutional values, humane considerations and as a matter of social justice, for inserting into our legal system a requirement by way of a central legislation to the effect that before slum dwellers are evicted by local authorities, it shall be the duty of the concerned local authority to provide alternative site, accommodation or facility to such evictees, and providing that the pavement dwellers are not disturbed unless it is inevitable to do so in the context of some emergent situation.
9.4. It will also be appropriate to provide that slum dwellers are not denied civic facilities such as water supply, street lighting, electricity, etc., on the ground that they are in illegal occupation of the land on which the slums have come into existence.