Decided on August 04,1983

STATE Respondents


- (1.) THE petitioner no. 1 is stated to be a registered society established, inter-alia, for various social welfare activities and it has been averred that a number of pavement dwellers of Calcutta are among its members. The petitioner nos. 2 and 3 are Joint Secretaries of the petitioner no. 1 society. It has been alleged that the petitioner nos. 4 to 7 have been living an the Western side of the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass between Bidhan Sishu udyan and Muslim Burial Ground. In their writ petition, the petitioners, inter-alia, have prayed that the respondents be commanded to withdraw, cancel and rescind their orders for evicting the petitioners 4 to 7 and other pavement dwellers of the city of Calcutta. The respondents who have been served with the copies of the writ application, have contested the aforesaid prayers of the petitioners.
(2.) THE petitioners 4 to 7 claimed to have come to Calcutta 15/20 years ago in search of employment and that they have been residing with their families on the pavements by constructing kutchha structures. The petitioner no. 4 is a rickshaw-puller while the petitioner 5 to 7 earn their livelihood by making coals or briquettes. Recently, the State government and the other civic bodies including the Calcutta Improvement trust and the Corporation of Calcutta have decided to remove obstructions and encroachments on both sides of Eastern Metropolitan Bypass. The respondents have started 'drives' to demolish the structures which have been constructed on both sides of the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass. I understand that the State Government and the other civic bodies have also taken similar steps to remove obstructions and encroachments made on other pavements and public streets of Calcutta.
(3.) MR. Behani, who has appeared on behalf of the petitioners, has submitted, that, without notice and without giving any hearing, the respondents have no power or authority to forcibly evict the petitioner nos. 4 to 7 who have been living in their respective dwellings for nearly 1520 years. Mr. Behani has also contended that pavements upon which the petitioner nos. 4 to 7 have built their huts do not form any part of any public street and the same do not constitute obstructions or encroachments upon a public street. The learned advocate for the petitioner has also urged the plea of hardship caused to the pavement dwellers who would be evicted without providing alternative places! for their homes.;

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