The Bombay High Court adjudicated on the suo moto petition seeking removal of encroachments along river beds. The plea was filed by the Municipal Corporation in light of the National Green Tribunal orders. The Court extended the abeyance order until October 31, 2020.
On 16.06.2020, the National Green Tribunal passed eviction orders for the encroachment along some riverbeds. The Pimpri- Chinchwad Municipal Corporation had postponed the implementation of the impugned order until 30.09.2020, per the restrictive order passed by the High Court.
Therefore, on expiry of the interim order on the last day of September, the civic authority has approached the present Court.
The Court noted that the eviction orders cannot be executed considering the grim pandemic situation in Maharashtra. It asserted that common people should not suffer without fault on their part. Further, it observed that the state authorities must undertake gentle approach during the pandemic and no citizen must be compelled to approach Courts in these difficult times. Thus, no act or omission of the authorities must render any citizen homeless in this pandemic.
The bench has also directed the counsel for the Municipal Corporation to appraise the situation of eviction notices to the Tribunal in its next hearing. However, the bench has recused itself from staying the eviction order as the matter was never presented before the present court. Moreover, the Court observed that similar orders of abeyance were passed by all High Courts across the country. The orders uphold the basic rights of the citizens guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The full bench of Bombay High Court took suo moto cognizance of the plight of the homeless during the pandemic. It has extended the interim order in abeyance of all eviction, dispossession and demolition till October 31, 2020.
Despite the extension of the abeyance order since the beginning of the lockdown, there have been few instances to the contrary. Further, the ailing economy and rising unemployment have added to the miseries of the people. Therefore, the issuance of such orders must be followed by monitoring the civic authorities from time to time.
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