The Delhi High Court has granted the Centre two weeks’ time to explain why a No Objection Certificate (NOC) was not being issued to the 200 Pakistani Hindu migrant families, who are currently residing in a slum in North Delhi, to enable them to apply for electricity connections.
The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad noted that the migrants are residing in North Delhi’s Adarsh Nagar without electricity for the past five to six years. The Bench said early this month that it “hopes and trusts” that the Government of India will look into their plight sympathetically.
“It has also been stated that there are small children, women in the area, and in absence of electricity it has become very difficult for these families to survive, and they are living in extremely harsh conditions,” the court said, while directing the Centre to file a reply positively within two weeks.
Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited, the power distribution company is not in a position to provide electricity connections as the land in question belongs to the Central Government or Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). It told the court that an NOC is certainly required as certain poles will have to be erected for providing proper electricity.
The Defence Ministry last year opposed the petition seeking electricity connections for the migrants and said the camp established by them at Delhi Jal Board Maidan is an illegal encroachment on the defence land.
During the hearing of the petition filed by Hariom through advocate Samiksha Mittal, senior advocate Sanjeev Poddar on September 6 told the court that all the migrants have been issued Aadhaar cards and are on a long-term Visa issued by the Centre. The court was told the authorities are demanding proof of ownership of land for electricity connections.
Poddar told the court that the proof of ownership is certainly not required under the rules and a person who is not the owner, and if he is an occupant, can also apply for electricity connection. The court was also informed that similar migrants are living in Majnu Ka Til and have been provided pre-paid metre electricity connections.
The Centre last year had told the court that the land measuring 70.253 acres has been transferred to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in August 2018 and it has been consistently following up the removal of “unauthorised occupation/encroachment” on defence land with the district administration concerned and the police officials.
The Defence Ministry had also taken up the matter for disconnection of electricity and water supply of the “unauthorised occupants” with Delhi Jal Board and North Delhi Power Limited, the Centre has told the court.
“The present petition is misconceived in as much as the camps which have been set-up/established at the land, are illegal and have been established as a result of encroachment on Defence land,” the reply said.
The petition seeks a direction for including Aadhaar card and the long-term visa as a sufficient proof by Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission in respect of the occupancy of the premises. There are 800 migrant Hindus living in the slums of Adarsh Nagar, as per the petition. The case will next be heard on October 6.
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