NHAI restrain from eviction without following due process of law: High Court

Himachal Pradesh High Court has given significant relief to petitioners from the eviction process along National Highway as the order passed by the court restraining the National Highway Authority of India and others to not evict the petitioners without following due process of law.

The Division bench of Chief Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao and  Justice Ajay Mohan Goel passed an order on May 30, 2023, in a petition filed by Vinod Kumar Kuthiala & others against the NHAI & others(CWP No. 3382 of 2023).

Petitioners have contended before the court that NHAI couldn’t demolish their construction without following the due course of law in Dhalli Bazar, outskirts of Shimla.

During the hearing notice was issued to Ms. Shreya Chauhan, Advocate, who accepted the information on behalf of the respondents. 

Court had asked the respondents to file a reply, (if any) be filed within three weeks of issuing of notice. HC said that till pending further orders, the NHAI and other respondents shall not evict the petitioners or demolish the structures erected by them without

following due process of law. Now the court has fixed the next date of hearing on July 21, 2023, in the matter.

Earlier to this on May 9  Himachal Pradesh High Court ordered NHAI, the state government to remove illegal encroachments from all national, and state highways and roads in the state within three months.

  A division bench of Justices Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Satyen Vaidya has asked the Chief Secretary to ensure compliance with the orders while hearing a writ petition.  The court had said that the temporary constructions made by the occupiers on the side of the road for their livelihood could not be ignored. The previous order of HC said that it is duty-bound to remove the possession of public property.  

“The illegal occupants couldn’t be spared on the ground of mercy.  The court had passed these orders while rejecting the petition of Harnam Singh alias Rinku Chandel, a resident of Narel of Theog area.  The petitioner had appealed to the court not to demolish his roadside dhaba, as it feeds his family. 

On May 25 and 26, NHAI and the State government demolition various encroachments along the 27-kilometer road from Tutikandi to Hassan Valley of National Highway-05 resulting in hundreds of people who are becoming homeless.

In a statement issued by the President of Himachal Pradesh Kisan Sabha, Dr. Kuldeep Tanwar on May 28, 2023, stated that it is not justified to take unilateral action against encroachment holders without giving notice to them the NHAI.

Mr. Tanwar said that affected people should be given a one-time opportunity to present their views. Some of the petitioners now moved in the court to stay the demolition or eviction process and Himachal Pradesh High Court gave relief to them on the ground that the eviction process couldn’t be followed without due process of law.

Some of the evicted People said that they are asked to vacate their shops, vegetable and fruit stall, and food eatery on May 25 without issuing notice to them.

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