11 October 1996
Supreme Court


Case number: C.A. No.-012992-012992 / 1996
Diary number: 78512 / 1991






DATE OF JUDGMENT:       11/10/1996




JUDGMENT:                       J U D G M E N T      K. Ramaswamy J.      Leave granted.      This appeal  by special  leave arises from the judgment and order  made on  February 20,  1991 by  the Gujarat  High Court in Special Civil Application No. 5351 of 1982.      The admitted  facts are  that 29  persons had filed the writ petition  in the High Court. They are pavement-dwellers in unauthorised  occupation of footpaths of the Rakhial Road in Ahmedabad  which is  a main  road. They  have constructed huts thereon.  When the  Corporation sought  to remove their encroachments on December 10, 1982, they approached the High Court under  Article 226 of the Constitution. The High Court granted interim  stay of removal of the encroachment. By the impugned judgment,  the High  Court directed  the  Municipal Corporation  not   to  remove   their  huts  until  suitable accommodation was  provided to  them. The  High  Court  also further  held   that  before   removing   the   unauthorised encroachments the  procedure of hearing, consistent with the principles of natural justice should be followed.      We requested  Shri Dushyant  Dave, the  learned  senior counsel of  the Bar to assist the Court as amicus curiae and Smt. K.  Sharda Devi  has been assigned as Legal Aid counsel to argue on the behalf of the respondents since they are not appearing either  in person  or through  counsel.  By  order dated September  11, 1995, this Court directed the appellant thus :      "We  think   that   the   Municipal      Corporation should  frame a  Scheme      to   accommodate    them   at   the      alternative  places   so  that  the      hutmen can shift their residence to      the   places    of    accommodation      provided by the Corporation to have      permanent residence. Corporation is      accordingly  directed  to  frame  a      scheme and  place before this Court      within two months from today"      Pursuant thereto,  a Scheme  has been framed and placed before this  Court. It would appear that only 10 persons out



of original  petitioners in  the High Court whose names have been mentioned  in the  supplementary affidavit are residing there;  of   them  Nurmahommad   Samsuddin  and   Hakimuddin Karimuddin have  converted their  huts into commercial units run on the pavement. This road is 80 feet wide with 10 and 8 feet wide foot-paths on tow sides of the road. At present 56 persons, obviously  including 10 original encroachers are in occupation  of   hutments  erected   on  the  footpaths  and whereabouts of  19 original  petitioners who  have left  the area in  consideration of  money  they  have  accepted,  are known. In  their place,  others have  occupied the  huts  by making payments.      Shri Dushyant Dave has also further submitted proposals as alternative  to the  Scheme. Having  heard the counsel on both sides,  we reserved  the case for consideration. At the outset, we  express our  deep appreciation  for the valuable assistance rendered  by Shri  Dushyant Dave and also for the fair arguments advanced by Shri Arun Jaitely, learned senior counsel appearing for the Corporation.      The questions  for consideration  are : (1) whether the respondents are  liable to  ejectment from the encroachments of pavements  of the  roads and  whether  the  principle  of natural justice,  viz., audi  alteram partem  requires to be followed and,  if so,  what is  its scope  and content?  (2) whether the  appellant is  under an  obligation  to  provide permanent residence to the hutment dwellers and, if so, what would  be the  parameters in that behalf? The questions are dealt  with  later.  On  the  first  question,  Sections 63(i)(19) of  the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, 1955 [as applicable to Gujrat or Section 231 of the Bombay Provincial Municipal  Corporation   Act   [BPMC   Act]   empowers   the Commissioner to  remove any  wall, fence,  rail, post  step, booth or  other structure or fixture, permanent or moveable, which shall  be erected  or set  up in or upon any street or upon or over any open channel, drain, well or tank, contrary to the  provisions of  sub-section (1)  of Section 312 after the same  came into force in the city of Ahmedabad or in the Super-bazars  after  the  Bombay  Municipal  (Extensions  of Limits) Act,  1950 came  into force or in the tended suburbs after the  date of  the coming  into  force  of  the  Bombay Municipal Act,  1955 [for  short, the  "Act"]. The  power to remove encroachments  on street,  pavement or  footpath  was conferred upon the Commissioner, the highest officer of the Municipal  Corporation,   who  acts   with  high  degree  of responsibility and  duty to  implement the provisions of the Act. every  citizen has  a right  to pass  or repass  on the pavement, street, footpath as general amenity for convenient traffic. A  Constitution Bench  of this Court in Sadan Singh etc. etc.  v. New  Delhi Municipal  Committee  &  Anr.  etc. [(1989)] 2  SCR 1038] was confronted with and had considered the question  "can there  be at all a fundamental right of a citizen to  occupy a  particular place on the pavement where he can  squat and  engage in  trading business?  We have  no hesitation in  answering the  issue against the petitioners. The petitioners  do have the fundamental right to carry on a trade or  business of  their choice,  but not  to do so on a particular place.  Hawkers  cannot  be  allowed  to,  or  be permitted to,  carry on  trade or  business on every road in the city.  If the  road is  not wide  enough to conveniently accommodate the  traffic on  it, no hawking may be permitted at all,  or may  be sanctioned  only once  a  week,  say  on Sundays when  the rush  considerably thins  out,".  Thereby, this Court  has minimised  the hardship  to pedestrians  and the hawkers in doing their business by hawking on the public street and  at the  same time  has protected the public from



free passes or re-passes of the traffic on road, pavement or footpath. In Olga Tellis v. Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay [(1965)]  3 SCC  545], another Constitution Bench had held that  "we are,  therefore of  the  opinion  that    the procedure prescribed  by Section 314 of the Bombay Municipal Corporations Act  for removal  of the  encroachment  on  the footpath   over which the public has right of passage cannot be regarded  as unreasonable,  unfair or unjust. There is no static measure of reasonableness which can be applied to all situations alike.  Indeed, the  question "Is  this procedure reasonable?" implies  and postulates  the  inquiry  as    to whether  the  procedure  prescribed  is  reasonable  in  the circumstances of the case."      It is  for the  Court to  decide  in  exercise  of  its constitutional  power   of  judicial   review  whether   the deprivation of life or personal liberty in a give case is by procedure which  is reasonable,  fair  and  just  or  it  is otherwise. Footpath,  street or pavement are public property which are  intended to  serve  the  convenience  of  general public. They  are not laid for private use indeed, their use for a  private purpose  frustrates the very object for which they carved  out from  portions of  public roads.  The  main reason for  laying out  pavements  is  to  ensure  that  the pedestrians are  able to go about their daily affairs with a reasonable measure  of safety  and security.  That facility, which has matured into a right of the pedestrians, cannot be set at  naught by  allowing encroachments  to be made on the pavements. The  claim of  the pavement dwellers to construct huts on  the pavement  or road is a permanent obstruction to free  passage   of  traffic   and  pedestrians’  safety  and security. Therefore,  it would be impermissible to permit or to make use of the pavement for private purpose. They should allow passing  and re-passing by the pedestrians. On one has a right  to make  use of  a public  property for the private purpose  without   the  requisite   authorisation  from  the competent authority. It would, therefore, be but the duty of the competent  authority  to  remove  encroachments  on  the pavement or  footpath of  the public street obstructing free flow of traffic or passing or re-passing by the pedestrians. This view  was firmly laid down by this Court in Olga Tellis case thus :      "No person  has a right to encroach      by   erecting    a   structure   or      otherwise    on    footpaths    and      pavements or  other place  reserved      or earmarked  for a  public purpose      like   (for    e.g.    garden    or      playground) and  that the provision      contained in  Section  314  of  the      Bombay Municipal Corporation Act is      not     unreasonable     in     the      circumstances of the case".      The Constitution  does not  put an  absolute embargo on the   deprivation of  life or  personal liberty  but such  a deprivation must be according to the procedure, in the given circumstances, fair and reasonable. To become fair, just and reasonable, it  would  not  be  enough  that  the  procedure prescribed in  law is  a formality. It must be pragmatic and realistic  one   to  meet   the  given   fact-situation.  No inflexible rule  of hearing  and due application of mind can be insisted  upon in  every or  all cases. Each case depends upon its  own backdrop.  The removal  of encroachment  needs urgent action.  But in  this behalf what requires to be done by the  competent authority  is to  ensure constant vigil on encroachment of  the public  places. Sooner the encroachment



is removed  when sighted,  better would be the facilities or convenience for  passing or re-passing of the pedestrians on the  pavements  or  foot-paths  facilitating  free  flow  of regulated traffic  on the  road or  use of public places. On the contrary,  the longer the delay, the greater will be the danger of  permitting the  encroachers claiming semblance of right to  obstruct  removal  of  the  encroachment.  If  the encroachment is  of a  recent origin  the need to follow the procedure of  principle of natural justice could be obviated in that  no not  has a  right to  encroach upon  the  public property and  claim the  procedure of opportunity of hearing which would be a tardious and time-consuming process leading to putting  a premium  for high-handed and unauthorised acts of encroachment  and unlawful  squatting. On the other hand, if the  Corporation allows  settlement of  encroachers for a long time  fore reasons  best known to them, and reasons are not far  to see,  then necessarily  a modicum  of reasonable notice for  removal, say  two weeks or 10 days, and personal service on  the encroachers or substituted service by fixing notice on  the property is necessary. If the encroachment is not  removed   within  the  specified  time,  the  competent authority would be at liberty to have it removed. That would meet the  fairness of  procedure  and  principle  of  giving opportunity to  remove the  encroachment voluntarily  by the encroachers. On  their resistance,  necessarily  appropriate and reasonable  force can  be used  to have the encroachment removed. Thus  considered, we  hold that the action taken by the appellant-Corporation  is not violative of the principal of natural justice.      It is  not in  dispute that  Rakhial Road is one of the important main road in the city of appellant-Corporation and it needs  removal of  encroachment for  free passing and re- passing of  the pedestrians  on the pavements/footpaths. But the question  is ;  whether the  respondents are entitled to alternative settlement before ejectment of them ?      Article  19(1)  (e)  accords  right  to  residence  and settlement in  any part  of India  as a  fundamental  right. Right to  life has been assured as a basic human right under Article 21  of the  Constitution of  India. Article 25(1) of the Universal  Declaration of  Human  Rights  declares  that everyone has  the right  to standard  of living adequate for the health  and well-being  of himself  and his  family;  it includes food, clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social services. Article 11(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights lays down that State parties to  the Convenat  recognise that  everyone  has  the right to  standard of  living for  himself  and  his  family including food,  clothing, housing  and  to  the  continuous improvement of living conditions. In Chameli Singh & Ors. v. State of  U.P. &  Anr. [(1996)  2 SCC 549], a Bench of three Judges of  this Court had considered and held that the right to shelter  is a  fundamental  right  available  to    every citizen and  it was read into Article 21 of the Constitution of India  as encompassing  within its  ambit, the  right  to shelter to  make the  right  to  life  more  meaningful.  In paragraph 8 it has been held thus :      "In any organised society, right to      live  as   a  human  being  is  not      ensured by  meeting only the animal      needs of  man. It  is secured  only      when he  assured of  all facilities      to develop  himself  and  is  freed      from restrictions which inhibit his      growth.  All   human   rights   are      designed to  achieve  this  object.



    Right to  live  guaranteed  in  any      civilised society implies the right      to food, water, decent environment,      education,   medical    care    and      shelter.  These   are  basic  human      rights  known   to  any   civilised      society.  All   civil,   political,      social    and    cultural    rights      enshrined    in    the    Universal      Declaration of   Human  Rights  and      Convention     or     under     the      Constitution  of  India  cannot  be      exercised without these basic human      rights. Shelter  for a human being,      therefore, is not a mere protection      of his  life and  limb. It  is home      where he  has opportunities to grow      physically,               mentally,      intellectually   an    spiritually.      Right   to    shelter,   therefore,      includes  adequate   living  space,      safe and  decent  structure,  clean      and decent surroundings, sufficient      light,   pure    air   and   water,      electricity, sanitation  and  other      civic amenities like roads etc.  so      as to  have easy  right to shelter,      therefore, does  not   mean  a mere      right to a roof over one’s head but      right  to  all  the  infrastructure      necessary to  enable them  to  live      and develop  as human  being. Right      to  shelter   when  used   as    an      essential requisite to the right to      live should be deemed to have  been      guaranteed as  a fundamental right.      As is  enjoined  in  the  Directive      Principles,  the  State  should  be      deemed to be under an obligation to      secure it   for  its  citizens,  of      course  subject   to  its  economic      budgeting. In  a democratic society      as  a   member  of   the  organised      permanent   shelter    so   as   to      physically,      mentally       and      intellectually  equip   oneself  to      improve   his   excellence   as   a      Fundamental  Duties  and  to  be  a      useful    citizen     and     equal      participant  in     democracy.  The      ultimate object  of  making  a  man      equipped with  right to  dignity of      person and  equality of  status  is      to enable  him to  develop  himself      into     residence,      therefore,      frustrates the  very object  of the      constitutional animation  of  right      to  equality,   economic   justice,      fundamental  right   to  residence,      dignity of person and right to live      itself.      Socio-economic  justice,  equality  of  status  and  of opportunity and  dignity of person to  foster the fraternity among all  the sections  of the  society  in  an  integrated Bharat is  the arch  of the  Constitution set  down in   its



Preamble. Articles  39 and  38 enjoins  the State to provide facilities and  opportunities. Article  38  and  46  of  the Constitution enjoin  the State  to promote  welfare  of  the people by securing social an economic justice  to the weaker sections of  the society  to minimise inequalities in income and endeavor  to eliminate  inequalities in  status. In that case, it  was held  that to bring the Dalits and Tribes into the mainstream  of national  life, the  State was to provide facilities and  opportunities as it is the duty of the State to   fulfil the  basic human  and constitutional  rights  to residents so  as to  make   the right to life meaningful. In Shantistar Builders  v. Narayan Khimalal Toame [(1990) 1 SSC 520], another  Bench of  three judges  had held  that  basic needs of  man have  traditionally been  accepted to be three food, clothing  and shelter. The right to life is guaranteed in any  civilised society.  That would  take within it sweep the right  to   food, the  right to  clothing, the  right to decent environment  and a  reasonable accommodation to live. The difference between the need of an animal, it is the bare protection of  the body;  for a  human being, it has to be a suitable accommodation  which would  allow him   to  grow in every  aspect  -  physical,  mental  and  intellectual.  The surplus urban-vacant land was directed to be used to provide shelter to  the poor.  In  Olga  Tellis  case  (supra),  the Constitution Bench  had considered  the right  to  dwell  on pavements or  in slums  by the  indigent and  the  same  was accepted as  a part of right to life enshrined under Article 21; their  ejectment   from the  place nearer  to their work would be  deprivation of  their   right to  livelihood. They will be  deprived of  their livelihood  if they  are evicted from their  slum  and  pavement  dwellings.  Their  eviction tantamount to  deprivation  of  their  life.  The  right  to livelihood is  a traditional  right to live, the easiest way of depriving  a person  of his  right to  life would  be  to deprive him  of his  means of  livelihood to  the  point  of abrogation. Such deprivation would not only denudes the life of its   effective  content and  meaningfulness but it would make   life impossible  to live. The deprivation of right to life, therefore,  must  be  consistent  with  the  procedure established by  law. In  P.G.  Gupta  v.  state  of  Gujarat [(1995)] Supp. 2 SCC 182], another Bench of three Judges had considered the mandate of human right to shelter and read it into Article 19(1)(e) and Article 21 of the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention of Civic,  Economic and Cultural Rights and had held that it is the  duty of  the State to construct houses at reasonable cost and  make them  easily  accessible  to  the  poor.  The aforesaid principles  have been  expressly embodied  and  in built in our Constitution to secure socio-economic democracy so that  everyone has  a right to life, liberty and security of the person. Article 22 of the Declaration of Human Rights envisages that everyone has a right t social security and is entitled to  its realisation  as the  economic,  social  and cultural rights  and indispensable  for his dignity and free development of  his personality.  It  would,  therefore,  be clear that  though no  person has  a right  to encroach  and erect structures  or  otherwise  on  footpath,  pavement  or public streets  or any other place reserved or earmarked for a public  purpose, the  State has the Constitutional duty to provide   adequate    facilities   and    opportunities   by distributing its wealth and resources for settlement of life and erection  of shelter  over their heads to make the right to life  meaningful, effective  and fruitful.  Right to live livelihood is  meaningful because  no one  can live  without means of  his living,  that is  the means of livelihood. The



deprivation of  the right  to life in that context would not only   denude   right   of   the   effective   content   and meaningfulness  but   it  would   make  life  miserable  and impossible to  life. It would, therefore, be the duty of the State to  provide right  to shelter to the poor and indigent weaker  sections  of  the  society  in  fulfillment  of  the Constitutional objectives.      That apart,  Section 284  (I) of the Act also imposes a statutory duty  on the  Corporation to  make  provision  for accommodation enjoining  upon the  Commissioner,  if  it  is satisfied that within any area or any part of the City it is expedient to  provide housing  accommodation  for  the  poor classes and  that such  accommodation  can  be  conveniently provided without  making an  improvement  scheme,  it  shall cause such areas to be defined on a plan. The Corporation is required to  pass a  resolution authorising the Commissioner who     shall  thereupon  have  power  to  provide  such  an accommodation either  by erecting  buildings or in any other manner on any land belonging  to the Corporation or any land acquired by the Corporation for the purpose or by conversion of any  building belonging  to the Corporation into dwelling for poor  classes or  by enlarging, altering or repairing or improving any  buildings, altering or repairing or improving any buildings,  which have,  or an  estate or interest which has been  acquired by the Corporation. This duty is apart of the Constitutional mandate. Under the Urban Ceiling Act, the excess urban  vacant land is earmarked to elongate the above objective.      The  appellant-Corporation   has  stated  that  in  its Resolution No.  544 dated  August 17,  1976 it  was resolved that no pavement dwellers/hut dwellers existing as on May 1, 1976 would  be removed  by the Corporation without providing alternative accommodation.  This cut off date was introduced for the  reason that they had conducted a detailed survey of slum-dwellers. They  were photographed  and  identity  cards were given  to them  so that  they could  get the protection from removal  until alternative accommodations were provided to them.  Out of 81,255 hutments, 1864 are pavement dwelling units. In furtherance thereof, they evolved several schemes. Of them,  three schemes  are in  operation. The first scheme relates to the open plots at Narol. As per that scheme plots of land  each admeasuring  25 square  metres had under Urban Land Ceiling and Regulation Act, 1976 comprised in the total land of  an extent of 38,749 square metres in Survey No. 41, were  directed  to  be  allotted  to  the  urban  poor.  The Government by  its resolution has decided that an urban poor family whose annual income is below Rs. 18,000/- is entitled to the allotment of said plots. They have suggested in their affidavit filed  by Rasikbhai,  Deputy Commissioner  of  the appellant-Corporation that  they had addressed the Collector of allotment regarding 35 plots reserved for hutments. It is further stated  that if  the 10  persons who  were  original petitioners in  the writ  petition are willing to vacate the present encroachments  they are  prepared to have the Rs. 25 sq. mtr.  plots in Narol Scheme allotted to them. The second alternative  scheme   suggested  was  the  Vinzol  Site  and Services Scheme evolved by the Gujarat Slum Clearance Board. Under  the  scheme,  plots  were  available  at  Vinzol  and Vivekananda Nagar  respectively. At  Vinzol, cost  of a plot admeasuring 32  sq.   mtrs, of  land  is  Rs.  9,468/-.  The initial payment  to be  made is  Rs. 3,941/-  and thereafter monthly instalment  of Rs. 107/- for 11 years in required to be paid.  The accommodation provided in that scheme includes plinth area  plus W.C.  In  the  Slum  Clearance  Scheme  of Vivekananda Nagar,  plots admeasuring 19,52 sq. mtr. of land



would be  available at  a cost  of Rs.  8,910/-. The initial payment is  Rs. 5,282/-  and the  monthly instalment payable thereafter is  of Rs.  145/- for  a period  of 11  years. It includes plinth area plus W.C. and Chokadi. There are around 700  to   1000  unallotted   units  available   and  if  the respondents are  willing they  would be  provided  with  the accommodation in  the said  Scheme. Thirdly,  it was  stated that there  are hutment dwelling units at Vinzol/Lambha Part I and  Lambha Part II of Economically Weaker Sections Scheme operated by Gujarat Slum Clearance Board. Therein, at Vinzol plots admeasuring 15.50 sq. mtrs. or 14.76 sq. mtrs. of land at Lambha  with facility  of one  room, W.C. and Chokadi are available.  142  tenements  are  available  at  Vinzol,  140 tenements are  available at  Lambha Part  II. This  was  the information furnished  by the  Gujarat Slum Clearance Board. The schemes  are floated for economically weaker sections of the society  and the  cost of each tenement at Vinzol is Rs. 16,187/- and of tenement at Lambha Part I and Part II is Rs. 17,094/- and  Rs. 18,030/- respectively. The initial payment to be made for the accommodation at Vinzol is Rs. 6604/- and in respect  of tenement  at Lambha Part I is Rs. 7,476/- and for Part  II it  is Rs.  72,00/-. The monthly instalment for Vinzol tenement is Rs. 131/- to be paid for 9 years 7 months and for  Lambha Part  I, the  instalment is  of Rs.141/- per month to  be paid  for 10  years and  for Part  II it is Rs. 142/- per  month to  be paid for 14 years. The annual family income limit for these tenements is also Rs. 18,000/-. Those family units  of Vinzol  who qualify the income criteria are eligible for allotment.      In  the   statement  made  on  behalf  of  the  hutment dwellers, Shri Dushyanant Dave has stated that the aforesaid units as  situated at   a  far away  place and  direction to vacate the  pavements and occupation of the premises thereat would deprive the respondents of their livelihood. A further affidavit was  filed on behalf of the Corporation wherein it is stated  that all infrastructural facilities are available at the  respective places.  They are  fully developed  areas with all  basic amenities. They are at a distance of about 8 kms. from  the  city.  Near  about  those  places  are  many factories  and  other  commercial  organisations  where  the respondent-encroachers can  find  out  their  livelihood  by working in the factories. Public transport is also available there. It  was also stated that Vinzol, Vivekanand Nagar and Lambha are  developed areas  and, therefore,  it is  easy to find out  work in  the vicinity of those areas. About 15,000 persons are  at present  living in each of the three Schemes with all  basic amenities.  Shri Dave  has given suggestions and submitted  that the  Corporation should  be directed  to evolve the  scheme under  Section 284  [i]  of  the  Act  to discharge the constitutional obligations and to provide near about the  place in  Rakhial Road  so that  the  respondents would work  in the  neighborhood and  would  eke  out  their livelihood. To this it was stated by the appellants that the open lands  available near  Rakhial Road  were earmarked for the school,  park/public amenities  and there  is no  vacant land in the nearby place.      Shri Dave  further suggested that the Corporation would relax their  census of  1976 and  adopt 1991  census and all those who  are residing  in the  city for  at least 10 years prior to  January 1,  1995 should  be provided with built up accommodation so that it would provide an alternative viable right to residence. If the land belonging to the Corporation is available,  the same could be implemented by constructing the houses.  If it is not available, lands could be acquired and houses  could be  constructed and accommodation provided



in terms  of the  directions given  by this  Court  so  that pavement dwellers  would have  right to  residence  and  the planned construction   could  not affected. It was stated in the additional  affidavit of  the respondents in this regard that in  1991 they  had identified  5 lakhs slum dwellers or pavement dwellers  out of  population of  29 lakhs  and  for acquisition and  construction  of  the  houses,  the  budget estimates would  be  Rs.  220  crores.  The  Government  has stopped   giving   assistance   to   the   Corporation   for construction of  houses.   This Court  in SLP  Nos. 47-51/96 titled  Maha   Gujarat  Hawkers   Vyapar  Mahajans  etc.  v. Ahmedabad Municipal  Corporation  had  given  directions  to regulate hawking. The Corporation has regulated, in terms of the said  order, the  hawking business  on the  pavements by dwellers in the city of Ahemdabad within the specified areas and identified some as non-hawking zones in the Scheme which is operated  in the  city  of  Ahemdabad.  No  direction  in derogation thereof  would be  given permitting  the pavement dwellers to  convert the hutments for commercial purpose. It is also  suggested that  with the   co-operation  of the Non Governmental Organisations  and financial  participation  of the slum  dwellers and  industrialists the  Corporation  has introduced Slum  Networking Project.  Under the scheme, they have provided 35,000 built up individual toilets in the slum areas. Subsidy  component to  the hutment  dwellers has been raised to 90 percent w.e.f. April 1, 1996.      As per  the scheme,  the  following  are  the  benefits provided in the slum areas for the hutment dwellers :      "i) House-to-house water supply;      ii) House-to-house drainage      connection;      iii)  Full   pavement  of  internal      street;      iv) Individual toilet;      v) Provision of storm water drain;      vi)    Solid    waste    management      services;      vii) Street light, etc.      Besides the  physical  services,  a      package  of  community  development      services, a  package  of  community      development   services    of   also      offered which includes :      i) Primary education;      ii) Primary health care;      iii) Income  generating  activities      etc.      This project  is estimated  to cost      Rs. 326  crores. A photocopy of the      said Project Report dated July 1995      and prepared by H Parikh Consulting      Engineers ....      The  aforesaid   benefits  of   the      Project are proposed to be extended      to  all   the  slums  except  those      situated  on   land  s   which  are      required for  public purpose by the      Corporation. With a view to provide      these services  in  the  slums  and      chawls situated  on private  lands,      an amendment has also been proposed      to the State Government in the BPMC      Act to  enable the  Corporations to      provide all  essential services  in      the slums  situated on  the private



    lands  without   prejudice  to  the      right, title  and interest  of  the      owner  of   the  land  and  without      affecting their  rights  to  remove      such  hutments   by  following  due      process of  law. This  amendment is      considered  necessary  to  maintain      health and  sanitation in the slums      situated on  private lands  and for      improving the  quality of  life  of      the slum  dwellers till  they exist      on the  private lands. This project      having partnership  concept of slum      dwellers is  now in  the process of      implementation. Efforts  are  being      made  to   give  priority   to  the      unserved/undeserved areas under the      Project.  It   is   believed   that      through  this   project,  a   large      number of slum dwellers  will be in      a  position   to   avail   of   the      essential  services  at  the  place      they  are   situated  and   improve      beyond the  present  means  of  the      Corporation       to        provide      rehabilitation   to    every   slum      dweller  by   providing   alternate      accommodation.      However, this  is not  to say  that      the   Corporation   has   permitted      section 261[I]  to  remain  on  the      statute book only. 9754 houses have      been  duly   constructed   by   the      Corporation    under    the    Slum      Clearance Scheme  for accommodation      slum dwellers  and allotted to them      and another  2220 houses  have been      constructed under  the HUDCO Scheme      for  economically  weaker  sections      and low  income  group  people  and      allotted.   Besides    this,    the      Corporations        has        also      infrastructure   to   315   hutment      dwellers under the site and service      scheme  and   the  flood   affected      hutment    dwellers    under    the      Integrated    Urban     Development      Programme.      So far  733 hutments  which existed      prior to  May 1976  [cut  of  date]      have  been   shifted   from   their      earlier location in the interest of      public and   all  of them have been      given   alternate    sit   by   the      Municipal     Corporation     which      includes  709   pavement   dwelling      families also.  This protection  is      not available  to   those who  have      come up  after  1-5-1976  [cut  off      date]."      The Corporation  has been  further subsidising 80% cost of construction  of individual latrines by slum dwellers and under this  scheme over  35,000 individual toilets have been built up  in the slums and chawls in past few years and this subsidy component  has been   further  raised  to  90%  with



effect  from  Ist  April,  1996.  As  per  the  Government’s resolution dated  May 30,1987  State Level and District/City level officers  are nominated  to monitor the working of the scheme.      In view  of the  above factual background, the question that  arises  is;  whether  there  is  compliance  with  the directions issued by this Court referred to hereinbefore and whether any further modulation is need in that behalf?      Empirical study  of urban and rural population in India discloses that  due   to lack of civic facilities and  means of  livelihood  people  from  rural  areas  constantly  keep migrating to   the  urban areas resulting in mushroom growth of slums  and encroachment  of the  pavements/footpaths etc. Every Municipal  Corporation has  statutory obligation    to provide free  flow of  traffic and pedestrians right to pass and re-pass  freely and  safely; as  its  concomitance,  the Corporation/Municipality have  statutory duty  to  have  the encroachments removed.  It would,  therefore, be inexpedient to give  any direction  not  to  remove,  or  to  allow  the encroachment on  the  pavements  or  footpaths  which  is  a constant source  of unhygienic  ecology, traffic hazards and risk  prone     to  lives  of  the  pedestrians.  It  would, therefore,  be   necessary  to  permit  the  Corporation  to exercise the statutory powers to prevent encroachment of the pavements/footpaths and  to prevent construction thereon. As held earlier,  the Corporation should always be vigilant and should not  allow encroachments  of the  pavements and  foot paths. As  soon as they notice any encroachments they should forthwith take  steps to  have them  removed and  would  not allowed them to settle down for a long time. It is stated in their affidavit  that they  are giving 21 days notice before taking  action   for  ejectment  of  the  encroachers.  That procedure, in  our view, is a fair procedure and, therefore, the right  to hearing  before taking action for ejectment is not necessary  in the   fact-situation. But the Commissioner should ensure  that everyone  is served  and if  it  is  not possible for  reasons to  be recorded  in the  file, through fixture of  the notice  on the hutment, duly attested by two independent panchas. This procedure would  avoid the dispute that they were not give opportunity; further prolongation of the encroachment and hazard to the traffic and safety of the pedestrians.      In  the   additional  affidavit   of  the  appellant  - Corporation,  it   raised  and   addressed  four   important questions of  constitutional dimensions.  The first question raised was  to prevent  the constant  influx  of  the  rural people to  the urban areas and consequential growth of slums and encroachments;  the second  one relates  to the need for preservation  of  the  public  property  like  road  margin, street, place  of public resorts like parks etc. to maintain ecological balance,  sanitation and  safety of  pedestrians; the third  question relates  to lack  of  resources  in  the budgetary provisions  to construct  and allot houses for the poor and  migrants of urban area; and the fourth one relates to interference  by the  courts protecting  the encroachers. These   questions bear  vital dimensions  which need careful examination and answers.      As regards  the first  question, it  is axiomatic  that India  lives   in  villages.   The  traditional   source  of employment or  avocation   to the  rural people generally is the agriculture.  It is  rather unfortunate  that even after half the  century from date of independence, no constructive planning has  been implemented  to ameliorate the conditions of  the   rural  people   by  providing  regular  source  of livelihood  or   infrastructural  facilities   like  health,



education, sanitation  etc. It  would be  for the  Union  of India,  all   the  State   Governments  and   the   Planning Commission,  which   are  Constitutional  functionaries,  to evolve such policies and schemes as are necessary to provide continuous means  of employment in the rural area so that in the  lean   period,  after   agricultural  operations,   the agricultural labour  or the  rural poor would fall back upon those services to eke out their livelihood. The middle class and upper  middle class  people in  the   rural  areas,  due tolack of  educational and  medical   facilities, migrate to the nearby  urban areas  resulting in  constant increase  in urban  population.   Once  infrastructural   facilities  are provided by  proper planning  and execution, necessarily the urge to  migrate to  the urban  areas would no longer compel the rural  people for   their  transplantation in  the urban areas. It  would, therefore,  be for the executive to evolve the schemes and have them implemented in letter and spirit.      Article 19(e)  of  the  Constitution  provides  to  all citizens fundamental  rights   to travel,  settle  down  and reside in  any part  of the  Bharat and  none have  right to prevent their  settlement. Any  attempt in that behalf would be  unconstitutional.   The  Preamble  of  the  Constitution assures integrity of the nation, fraternity among the people and dignity  of the  person to  make India an integrated and united Bharat  in a  socialist secular  democratic republic. The policy  or principle should be such that everyone should have the  opportunity to migrate and settle down in any part of Bharat  where opportunity for employment or better living conditions  are   available  and,  therefore,  it  would  be unconstitutional and  impermissible to  prevent the  persons from migrating  and settling at places where they find their livelihood and  means of  avocation. It  is to remember that the Preamble  is the  arch of the Constitution which accords to every  citizen  of  India  socio-economic  and  political justice, liberties,  equality of  opportunity and of status, fraternity, dignity  of person  in an integrated Bharat. The fundamental right  sand the  directive  principles  and  the Preamble being  trinity of  the Constitution,  the  right to residence and  to settle  in any  part  of  the  country  is assured to  every citizen. In a secular socialist democratic republic of  Bharat hierarchical caste structure, antagonism towards diverse  religious belief and faith and  dialectical difference would  be smoothened  and   the people  would  be integrated with  dignity of  person  only  when  social  and economic democracy  is established  under rule  of law.  The difference due   to cast, sect or religion pose grave threat to affinity, equality and fraternity. Social democracy means a way  of life  with dignity  of person  as a  normal social intercourse  with  liberty,  equality  and  fraternity.  The economic democracy  implicit in itself that the inequalities in income  and  inequalities  in  opportunities  and  status should be minimised and as far as possible marginalised. The right  to   life  enshrined   under  Article   21  has  been interpreted by  this Court  to include  meaningful right  to life and  not  merely  animal  existence  as  elaborated  in several judgments of this Court including Hawkers case, Olga Tellies case and the latest Chameli Singh’s case and host of other decisions  which need  no reiteration.  Suffice it  to state that  right to  life would  include right to live with human dignity. As held earlier, right to residence is one of the   minimal human rights as fundamental right. Due to want of facilities and opportunities, the right  to residence and settlement is  an illusion  to the   rural  and urban  poor. Article 38,39  and 46  mandate the  State, as  its  minimise inequalities in  income and  in opportunities and status. It



positively charges  the State  to distribute  its largess to the weaker  sections of  the society envisaged in Article 46 to make  socio-economic justice  a reality,  meaningful  and fruitful so as to make the life worth living with dignity of person and  equality of  status and  to  constantly  improve excellence.      The  Gram   Panchayats,   the   Zilla   Parishads   and municipalities are  local bodies.  Parts IX  and IXA  of the Constitution have  brought, through  Articles 243  to 243ZG. the  Panchayats,   Zilla  Parishads  and  municipalities  as constitutional  instrumentalities  to  elongate  the  socio- economic and  political democracy  under the  rule  of  law. Article 2436  and 243W  enjoin preparation  of  plans    for economic development  and social  justice. The  State, i.e., the Union  of India  and the  State Government and the local bodies constitute  an integral  executive to  implement  the directive principle  contained in  Part  IV  through  planed development  under   the  rule   of  law.   The   appellant- Corporation,  therefore,   has   Constitutional   duty   and authority to  implement the directives contained in Articles 38,  39   and  46  and  all  cognate  all  the  citizens  as meaningful.  It   would,  therefore,  be  the  duty  of  the appellant to  enforce the  schemes in  a planned  manner  by annual budgets to provide right to residence to the poor.      As regards  the question  of budgeting, it is true that Courts cannot  give direction to implement the scheme with a particular budget  as it being the executive function of the local bodies and the State to evolve their annual budget. As an integral  passing annual budget, they should also earmark implementation of  socio-economic justice  to the  poor. The State and  consequently the  local authorities,  are charged with the Constitutional duty to provide the weaker sections, in particular the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes with socio-economic and  political injustice and to prevent their exploitation   and to prevent them from injustice. The Union of India  have evolved  Indira Avas Yojna Scheme exclusively to provide housing accommodation to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes  and  separate  annual  budgets  are  being allotted  in   that  behalf   by  the   Parliament  and  the appropriate Legislatures  in allied matters, In that behalf, in implementation  of the  housing scheme  evolved for them, the budgetary  allocation should  exclusively be  spent  for them and  should not  be diverted  to any  other projects or similar schemes  meant for  others. The  Planning Commission has evolved  the  principle  of  allotment  of  a  specified percentage for  the overall  developments of  the  Scheduled Castes and  Scheduled Tribes.  As a  facet of it, the annual budget including  by the  Parliament.  Similarly  for  other schemes covered  by the  State budgets.  Therefore, when the State, namely,  Union of  India  or  the  appropriate  State Government or  the local  bodies implement these schemes for housing accommodation  of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes or any other schemes, they should, in compliance with mandates of Articles 46, 39 and 38, annually provide housing accommodation to  them with  in  the  allocated  budget  and effectively  and   sincerely  implement   them   using   the allocations for  the respective schemes so that the right to residence to  them would become a reality and meaningful and the budget  allocation should not either be diverted or used for any  other scheme meant for other weaker sections of the society. Any  acts in  violation  thereof  or  diversion  of allocated funds,  misuse  or  misutilisation,  would  be  in negation  of   constitutional   objectives   defeating   and deflecting the  goal  envisioned  in  the  Preamble  of  the Constitution. The  executive forfeits  the faith  and  trust



reposed in it by Article 261 of the Constitution.      Similarly separate  budget would  also be  allocated to other weaker  sections  of  the  society  and  the  backward classes to  further their  socio-economic advancement.  As a facet thereof,  housing accommodation  also would be evolved and from that respective budget allocation the amount needed for housing  accommodation for them should also be earmarked separately  and   implemented  as  an  on-going  process  of providing facilities  and  opportunities  including  housing accommodation to  the rural or urban poor and other backward classes of people.      It is  common knowledge  that  when  Government  allows largess to  the poor, by pressures or surreptitious means or in the  language  of  the  appellant-Corporation  "the  slum lords" exert  pressures on  the vulnerable  sections of  the society to  vacate their  place of  occupation and shift for settlement to  other vacant  lands belonging to the State or municipalities or  private properties  by encroachment.  The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes who are settled in the allotted Government  properties/houses/plots  of  lands  are compelled or  driven by  pressures to  leave the  places  to settle at  some other  place. This  would  have  deleterious effect on  the integration  and social  cohesion and  public resources  are  wasted  and  the  constitutional  objectives defeated. It  would, therefore,  be of  necessity  that  the policy of  the  Government  in  executing  the  policies  of providing housing  accommodation either to the rural poor or the urban  poor, should  be such  that the lands allotted or houses constructed/plots  allotted be  in such a manner that all  the   sections    of  the  society,  Schedules  Castes, Scheduled  Tribes,  Backward  Classes  and  other  poor  are integrated as  cohesive social  structure. The   expenditure should be  met  from  the  respective  budgetary  provisions allotted  to   their  housing   schemes  in  the  respective proportion be  utilised. All  of them would, therefore, live in one locality in an integrated social group so that social harmony, integrity,  fraternity and amity would be fostered, religious and  caste distinction  would no  longer remain  a barrier for  harmonised social  intercourse and integration. The  facts   in  this  case  do  disclose  that  out  of  29 encroachers who have constructed the houses on pavements, 19 of  them  have  left  the  places,  obviously  due  to  such pressures and  interests of rest have come into existence by way of  purchase. When  such persons part with possession in any manner  known to  law, the  alienation  or  transfer  is opposed to  the Constitutional objectives and public policy. Therefore, such  transfers are  void ab initio conferring no right, title  or interest  therein. In some of the State law has  already   been  made  in  that  behalf  declaring  such transfers as  void with  power to  resume the  property  and allot the  same to  other needy  people from  these  scheme. Other States  should also  follow the  suit and if necessary the Parliament may make comprehensive law in this behalf. It would  take  care  of  the  third  question  raised  by  the appellant. The  Union  Law  Commission  would  examine  this question.      Encroachment of  public property  undoubtedly obstructs and upsets  planned development,  echology  and  sanitation. Public property  needs to  be preserved and protected. It is but the  duty of  the State  and local  bodies to ensure the same. This would answer the second  question. As regards the fourth question,  it is to reiterate that judicial review is the basic structure of the Constitution. Every citizen has a fundamental right  to redress  the  perceived  legal  injury through judicial  process. The encroachers are no exceptions



to that  Constitutional right  to  judicial  redressal.  The Constitutional Court,  therefore, has  a Constitutional duty as sentinel  qui vive to enforce the right of a citizen when the he  approaches the  Court for  perceived  legal  injury, provided he  establishes that he has a right to remedy. When an encroacher  approaches   the Court, the Court is required to examine  whether the encroacher had any right and to what extent he  would be  given protection  and relief.  In  that behalf, it  is the  salutary duty  of the State or the local bodies or any instrumentality to assist the Court by placing necessary   factual   position   and   legal   setting   for adjudication and for granting/refusing relief appropriate to the situation. Therefore, the mere fact that the encroachers have approached  the Court  would be  no ground  to  dismiss their cases.  The contention  of  the  appellant-Corporation that the  intervention of the Court would aid impetus to the encroachers to  abuse the  judicial process is untenable. As held earlier, if the appellant-Corporation or any local body or the  State acts  with vigilance and prevents encroachment immediately, the  need to  follow the procedure enshrined as a inbuilt  fair procedure  would be  obviated. But  if  they allow  the  encroachers  to  remain  in  settled  possession sufficiently for  long time,  which would  be a  fact to  be established in  an appropriate  case,  necessarily  suitable procedure would  be required  to be adopted to meet the fact situation  and   that,  therefore,   it  would  be  for  the respondent  concerned   and  also   for  the  petitioner  to establish the  respective claims  and it is for the Court to consider as  to what  would  be  the  appropriate  procedure required  to   be  adopted     in   the  given   facts   and circumstances.      It is  true that  in all cases it may not be necessary, as a  condition for  ejectment of  the encroacher,  that  he should be  provided with an alternative accommodation at the expense of  the State which if given due credence, is likely to result  in abuse of the judicial process. But no absolute principle of  universal application  would be  laid in  this behalf. Each  case is  required to  be examined on the given set of  facts and  appropriate to  the facts  of  the  case. Normally, the  Court suitable  to the  facts  of  the  case. Normally, the  Court may  not, as  a rule,  directs that the encroacher  should   be   provided   with   an   alternative accommodation before  ejectment when  they encroached public properties, but,  as  stated  earlier,  each  case  required examination and  suitable direction appropriate to the facts requires modulation.  Considered from  this perspective, the apprehensions of the appellant is without force.      As regards  the direction  given by  the High  Court to provide  accommodation   as  a   condition  to   remove  the encroachment,  as   held  earlier,   since   the   Municipal Corporation has  a constitutional  and    tatutory  duty  to provide means  for settlement and residence by allotting the surplus land  under  the  Urban  Land  Ceiling  Act  and  if necessary by acquiring the land and providing house sites or tenements, as  the case  may be,  according  to  the  scheme formulated by  the Corporation,  the financial  condition of the Corporation  may also be kept in view but that would not be a  constraint on  the Corporation  to avoid  its duty  of providing residence/plot  to the  urban weaker  sections. It would, therefore,  be the  duty of the Corporation to evolve the schemes.  In the  light of the schemes now in operation, we are  of view  that opportunity  should be given to the 10 named petitioner encroachers to opt for any one of the three schemes and  the named  two  persons  who  are  carrying  on commercial activities  should immediately  stop the same. If



they intend  to have  any commercial activity or hawking, it should be  availed of  as per  directions already  issued by this  Court   in  the  aforesaid  judgment  and  no  further modification or  any directions  contra thereto  need to  be issued. Out of these 10 persons, if they are eligible within the terms  of the  schemes  and  would  satisfy  the  income criterion, they would be given allotment of the sites or the tenements, as the case may be, according to their option. In case they  do not opt for any of the schemes, 21 days notice would be  served on  them and other encroachers and they may be ejected  from the present encroachments. As regards other persons who  have become  encroachers by the way of purchase either from  the original  encroachers or encroached pending writ petition/appeal in this Court, they are not entitled to the benefits  given to  the 10 encroachers. As regards those who are  eligible according to the guidelines in the schemes and also fulfill the income criterion, it may be open to the Corporation to   extend  the same  benefits in either of the three schemes,  if they  so desire.  It is, however, made it clear that we are not giving any specific direction in  this behalf lest  it would  amount to  encouraging the  people to abuse the  judicial process  to  avail  of  such  remedy  by encroaching public property.      Accordingly, the  appeal is  allowed. The  order of the High  Court   is  modified  as  indicated  above.  The  writ petitions   stand    disposed   of   accordingly.   In   the circumstances of  the case,  however, there will be no order as to costs.