Haldwani Dispute: Railways or Locals, Who Does Land Belong To? The Supreme Court of India stopped the eviction campaign on alleged railway land in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani on Thursday, January 5, bringing relief to thousands of residents who were facing homelessness.
The supreme court issued a strong order that stated, “There cannot be uprooting of 50,000 people overnight.” There must be a viable solution to this human problem.
The top court stopped the Uttarakhand High Court (HC) order that had allowed the eviction of nearly 4,300 families in Haldwani and even the use of force if necessary, noting that “it may not be correct to say that paramilitary forces have to be deployed to remove people who have been living there for decades.”
In Haldwani’s Banbhoolpura colony, thousands of residents staged candle marches and protests following the Uttarakhand High Court’s order to remove encroachment on the alleged railway land.
The Supreme Court, in its order dated 5 January, noted the following:
- “There cannot be uprooting of 50,000 people in seven days. We do believe that a workable arrangement is necessary to segregate people who may have no rights in the land who have to be removed, coupled with schemes of rehabilitation which may already exist, while recognising the need of the railways,” the bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and AS Oka said.
- It was mentioned in the court that the names of local residents are recorded in the house tax register of the Municipal Corporation and that they have been paying house tax regularly for years.
- The top court also noted that the said land has been occupied by the petitioners and their forefathers for a long time, in some cases even before Independence. This, the court noted, has been recognised by the state and its agencies as several residents have water and gas connections, and even Aadhaar cards basis their address on the said disputed land.