The Haldwani case, in which the Uttarakhand High Court had authorized the use of force to evict 4,000 residents residing on what the Railways asserts is its land, received a stay from the Supreme Court on Thursday. claiming that the problem has a human aspect and that the individuals involved need to be helped.

Supreme Court Ruling

The HC ordered Railways to give the residents one week to leave before “using the forces to any degree judging upon need, to expel forthwith the illegal occupiers” on December 20 of last year. But the SC on Thursday said 50,000 people can’t be uprooted in seven days.  “Question to be answered is whether the state government is claiming a portion of the land or whether the railroads should receive ownership of the entire tract.”, a bench of Justices S. K. Kaul and AS. Oka stated. In addition, there are problems with auction purchasers. The benchmark “We also don’t want to put you in a tough situation… Two things can happen when they work together in harmony, the bench said”.

Former Uttarakhand High Court Ruling

When a writ petition was filed in 2013 before Uttrakhand HC alleging that the river Gaula, which flows alongside the Haldwani railway station, was being illegally mined for sand. During this hearing, it was asserted that certain residents who lived close to the railway line were engaged in mining. The Railways was added as a party to the litigation at that point, and the HC ordered that the property be cleared in 2016. Inhabitants of this land appealed to the Supreme Court, which ruled in 2017 that the High Court should hear from the residents as well.

Last Year’s Ruling by Uttrakhand High Court

The HC last year in December 2022 once again ordered to clear the land.  “Due to the certain most renowned political shield, which was then being provided by the then ruling party for its political gains to the unauthorised occupants, just to secure its vote bank, the State itself has filed a Review Petition, for no existing and valid reasons… seeking review of the judgment dated 9th November 2016, which was too dismissed by the Division Bench vide its judgment dated 10th January 2017,” the 176-page ruling stated.

Claims Raised by Both the Parties

Residents claim to have land titles and to have lived in this location for many years. The Railways, on the other hand, asserts that their possession of the area is evidenced by maps, a notification from 1959, revenue records from 1971, and the findings of a 2017 survey. The affected area, which spans a 2.2 km strip of land, located in Haldwani Banbhoolpura district, and is home to at least three government schools, 11 accredited private schools, 10 mosques, 12 madrassas, one public health facility run by the government, and one temple.

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