NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the demolition drive of Railways to clear encroachment near Krishna Janmasthan in Mathura and directed that status quo be maintained for 10 days.

Hearing a petition filed by an aggrieved resident, a bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose, Sanjay Kumar and S V N Bhatti issued notice to Centre seeking its response on the petition which alleged that demolition was being done illegally and arbitrarily by the railway authority when a civil suit on the dispute is pending in court. The court passed an interim order to grant relief to the residents of Nai Basti near Krishna Janmasthan and directed that status quo be maintained for 10 days and posted the case for further hearing after a week.
Senior advocate Prashanto Chanda Sen and lawyer Kaushik Choudhury, appearing for the petitioner, alleged that people have been residing there since 1880 and a civil suit filed in 2005 is pending regarding controversy on ownership of the land but the authority started demolishing the houses on the very date when the interim application was fixed for hearing. They said that the petitioner was forced to approach the apex court after the lower court and the Allahabad HC could not take up the plea.

“The petitioner has no other place of living and demolishing their house where they have been staying for more than 100 years is absolutely illegal and arbitrary that too when the matter is sub-judice,” the petition said.
As per the petitioner, the demolition drive started on August 9 and the petitioner approached the civil court where the suit is pending but hearing was adjourned and posted to August 14. But the hearing could not take place on August 14 in civil court and HC as all court work was suspended because of the death of a lawyer in court premises and the demolition resumed on that day.
The Railway Authorities have deployed police officials at Krishna Janmasthan and such police officials have been ordered to hunt down the residents of Krishna Janmasthan and detain them so as to ensure that the demolition activities are carried out uninterrupted. As a consequence thereof, the victims have been compelled to seek refuge in other households in order to avoid being illegally detained. It is for this reason that the petitioner alone has approached this Court in a tearing hurry on behalf of himself and as a representative of the several victims,” the petitioner said, seeking that protection be extended to all residents.

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