Mid-winter demolitions, 2003: Delhi Police

Apropos last week's demolitions I have sent the
following to Delhi Police in continuation of letters
about mid-winter demolitions last year.

Sub: Slum demolitions and Hon'ble High Court's order
of 12.11.2003 (Encl.1)
Ref: Previous correspondence, especially letter of
14.01.03 (Encl.2)

Dear Sir,
I am writing in the context of demolition of a
settlement of about 1200 families near Apollo on
16.12.03 and threat of demolition of a settlement of
Lohars at Kalkaji today.

I am aware the role of Police in demolitions is
limited to providing force. I assume that Police must
ensure it provides force only for legal demolition.
Demolition without notice, such as in both the cases
mentioned, is illegal since s.30 of Delhi Development
Act, 1957, requires notice and opportunity for hearing
prior to demolition.

I am also aware that on 29.11.2002 Hon'ble High Court
directed Police to assist authorities to clear slums
obstructing planned development. 'Planned
development', defined by Delhi Development Act as
development according to Master Plan, does not
contemplate demolitions in inclement weather (hence my
letter of 14.01.03) and requires low income housing,
which has not been developed, leading to slums. This
position is basis of enclosed order of 12.11.2003 in
which Hon'ble High Court has sought details of low
income housing in F-Zone (South / SW Delhi) according
to Master Plan.

You are requested to kindly take cognizance of the
Hon'ble High Court's order of 12.11.2003 and issue
appropriate directions to ensure force is provided
only for demolitions legal in terms of 'planned
development' as well as notice procedures set out in
law for the same. Indeed, you are requested kindly
consider this letter a complaint against demolitions
that are illegal in these terms.

Apropos Lohar's settlements, it is further pointed out
that their case is sub-judice in a separate matter in
which, too, the Hon'ble Court has sought on 17.12.2003
details of housing scheme promised by authorities.

Thanking you,
Yours sincerely

Gita Dewan Verma / Planner
B.Arch (SPA, gold medalist); M.Planning (SPA, gold
medalist); PG Dip-Research (IHS-Rotterdam, top rank);
Dip-Training (DoPT)
Formerly: Senior Fellow (HUDCO-HSMI), Visiting Faculty
(SPA, TVB Habitat Studies), Consultant (DfID, IHSP,
Nuffic, UNICEF, etc)
Currently: Independent planning researcher and writer
and planning consultant to citizens? groups


for information in case of imminent demolitions,
pending processing of this letter:
· DCP (South)
· DCP (South-West)

for information apropos demolitions without notice in
inclement weather:
· Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission

Encl, as above


Text of order of 12.11.2003 posted at:


Text of letter of 14.01.2003 to Police Commissioner:

Sub: Yesterday's demolition threat in Arjun Camp /
Current slum discourse in Delhi
Ref: Copy of my letter of 26.10.02 to DCP-SW (encl.2)

Dear Mr Gupta,

Enclosed (as encl.1), please find a copy of the letter
to DDA Vice Chairman filed as a complaint in our
police stations yesterday morning apropos the
demolition proposed by DDA yesterday. It is
unfortunate that any one should have initiated a
mid-winter demolition without urgency of purpose while
the matter is sub-judice. And it is gratifying that
the demolition was staved off and that, as I hear, our
SHO took the citizens' complaint against DDA with the
seriousness it deserved in the context, perhaps, of
our earlier complaints apropos DDA's own illegal
activities (see encl.2). I am writing on behalf of my
clients as well as on my own behalf as a planner to
firstly to say thank you.

Secondly, in view of yesterday's experience and of
reports of intent of MCD, Delhi Government and Central
Government to move court in the matter of the Court's
judgement of 29 November 2002, I would like to point
out one small thing. While the Court has directed you
to provide necessary force to public authorities to
effect evictions, I believe it is also the
responsibility of the Police to ensure that the
court's order is not 'misused' against citizens. It is
noteworthy that:
· The court has not ordered mid-winter demolitions and
there is sufficient precedent in law and policy
against evictions in inclement weather. As such,
unless extreme urgency of purpose is unambiguously
proven, effecting demolitions at present on the
'pretext' that the Court has 'permitted' them arguably
amounts to 'misuse' of the court's order against
citizens and is, in my simplistic opinion, hardly
worthy of police protection.
· The court has not said that public authorities may
use, as a substitute for replying to questions raised
by citizens, evictions as reprisal or otherwise. DDA's
demolition 'plans' in cases like Arjun Camp where it
has yet to reply pursuant to the Court?s order of
16.08.02, etc, demonstrate an unacceptable lack of
accountability that is, again in my simplistic
opinion, hardly worthy of police protection.

I hope you will consider with seriousness these small
points while providing police force for demolitions. I
would be grateful for a response in respect of the
above as well as to my earlier letter. I would also
like to take this opportunity to mention on the
off-chance that it might interest you that I have been
invited to deliver a public lecture later this week in
which I plan to speak about developments and
possibilities following the Division Bench order of

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Yours sincerely

Gita Dewan Verma

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