Use of Bulldozer and Principle of Natural Justice

Mains Marks Booster     3rd August 2023        
Samadhaan

Context:

  • Recently, it has been alleged that the authorities riding bulldozers have razed buildings or house extensions built "illegally" in neighbourhoods that recorded communal clashes in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat etc. 
  • Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, Haryana have laws in place for the recovery of damages to the property during a disturbance. From the administrative point of view, it may appear to be reasonable but it also endangers the fundamental rights of citizens.

Anti- encroachment drive

Issues of encroachment:

  • Constriction of the public space:  land is a scarce commodity, and when the unplanned, illegal structures are built on public land it results in constriction of the public space eg. public roads. Pedestrians would suffer as people would have fewer spaces to walk. 
  • Non-enforcement of strict regulations:  Regarding the public encroachment by the local authorities provides encouragement to the public to take this issue lightly. 
  • Lack of basic amenities: Areas coming out of illegal construction lack basic amenities such as water, electricity, sewage system severely. It leads to health issues.
  • Issues of law and order: Unauthorised colonies also face issues of law and order, as access of police get limited due to temporary structure and constriction.
  • Vulnerable to disasters such as Fire, water logging in rainy days, extreme weather.
  • Unplanned growth of city population and expansion of slum areas, cause difficulty in expanding development work.

Ethical issues of anti-encroachment drive:

  • Hardship to common people: The worst hit in the anti-encroachment exercise have been the pool of several thousand workers whose livelihood vanished.
  • Loss of physical asset: Anti encroachment drive causes destruction of physical structure, It leads to loss of wealth and makes many people homeless.
  • Children and old age people suffer a lot. Their school schedule get disrupted and old age people experience acute shortage of water, sanitation, medication etc. 

Justifying the Demolitions

  • Punitive action: Such as demolition of illegal structure, against an accused person can demotivate others to act unlawfully or take law in his/her hand.
  • Free Constricted space: Anti encroachment drives pave the way for the availability of open space and the public could get better life experiences. 
  • Avoid interfaith tension: Illegal constructions are used to create religious structure. Later the same structure can become a bone of contention among groups. 
  • Increase in revenue of the authority:  Local and state authority can use the increased revenue post demolition in the rehabilitation of needy people.

Way Forward:

  • Rehabilitation must be fixed according to the community or category of people being displaced which should ensure them basic amenities
  • Creating awareness among the lot about community right’s provision
  • Compassionate ground to be adopted towards vulnerable section such as pregnant women, children, old age people
  • Right to hearing and principles of natural Justice to be followed.
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