Centre Against Plea Seeking Electricity for Hindu Migrant Families from Pakistan Living In Delhi

The Centre has told the Delhi High Court that 200 families of Hindu migrants from Pakistan are residing in illegal camps on a Defence land in North Delhi and a plea seeking electricity connection for them should be dismissed for being misconceived. The Centre further said that in August 2018, it accorded sanction for transfer of the land in question to the Defence Research and Development Organization and has been consistently following up with the local authorities for the removal of unauthorized encroachment there.

The Ministry of Defence was responding to the notice issued in September by a bench headed by Chief Justice DN Patel to the Centre, Delhi government, and others on the plea which concerns 200 families of Hindu migrants from Pakistan, comprising almost 800 people, who are living in Delhi Jal Board Maidan in North Delhi’s Adarsh Nagar area.

The plea was filed by one Hariom, who works for the welfare of ‘minority migrants’ from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan in India.

Responding to the plea, the Centre said the present petition seeks inter-alia seeking electricity connection for 200 Hindu minority migrants families who are currently the occupants of Delhi Jal Board Maidan, Shah Alam Road, Adarsh Nagar, North Delhi. 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 affidavit filed by Defence Estates Officer, Delhi Circle, Delhi Cantt., Ministry of Defence also said “not only is the answering respondent not the competent authority to provide electric connections or provide any assistance of any sort to migrants but also in view of the illegal encroachment the petition is misconceived and frivolous and deserves to be dismissed in-limine. In the affidavit filed through lawyer Amit Mahajan, the Centre added that in July 2018, it had also taken up the matter for disconnection of electricity/water supply of the unauthorized occupants with Delhi Jal Board and North Delhi Power Limited.

The petitioner had told the high court that the present case concerned migrants from Pakistan– mostly from Sindhwho are living here without electricity for the past few years. During the pandemic when all schools have gone online, there is no electricity in the Jhuggis (slums) and future of their children is in dark, said the plea, filed through advocates Samiksha Mittal, Akash Vajpai, and Ayush Saxena.

The petitioner had said that he approached various government authorities but could not succeed in getting electricity for migrants and some of them even applied to Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd, which was turned down on the grounds that valid ownership proof of applied address was required. The plea claimed that most of the migrants were living on long-term visas and they have an Aadhaar card also with the same address on which they are currently living, which consequently proved their occupancy.

However, as per the discom, Aadhaar can be used as identity proof but not as proof of occupancy of the premises, it said. The plea thus sought a direction for providing electricity connection to the migrants on the basis of their Aadhaar card, long term visa, and passport under the DERC (Supply Code and Performance Standards) Regulations, 2017 and to also include these documents like identity proof and Aadhaar card as proof of occupancy.

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