Surat to Jalgaon Railway Line: Supreme Court refuses to stay removal of Jhuggies

Read Time: 07 minutes

  • Top Court has directed that Railways may immediately issue notices to occupants of structures built on the 2.65 km conceived railway Line from Surat to Jalgaon & take legal action in case of failure to evict.
  • The Surat to Jalgaon railway line was conceived in 2012 but remained stalled due to jhuggi occupants in the vicinity.


The Supreme Court today ordered the Railway, the local government and the State government to jointly pay a sum of Rs.2000 per hut for a period of 6 month to the residents of 5,000 jhuggis in State of Gujarat which would lead to eviction of 10,000 slum dwellers.

The top court paved way for the Western Railways to execute Surat to Jalgaon railway line which was conceived in 2012 and is still incomplete because of the structures on railway property to the extent of 2.65 kms.

The court further directed that Railways may immediately issue notices to occupants of the structures to commence the remaining project and give 2 weeks time for vacation and for those not in the immediate vicinity of the structures, the court directed a time of 6 weeks be given for the eviction. The court further directed that if the occupant fails to vacate the structure it will be open to the Railways/ State/ local government to initiate legal action or forcible dispossession. 

The court has directed that before commencing the process of eviction and removal, the collector must ensure that necessary details of the names and persons occupying their structure including their identity is recorded and profiled for considering the possibility of providing suitable accommodation for the person affected. The court noted that in the event the local government has any scheme, the affected persons can apply under the said scheme subject to State's considerations. If there is no scheme the persons likely to be affected can apply for allocation of premises under Prime Minister Awaaz Yojna which should be processed within a period of 6 months.

The court directed that since the railways have power to initiate criminal action against the unauthorised occupants, they must resort to those proceedings. Further railways being the owner, the local and state must initiate action against the erring persons or officials who have failed to perform their duty by not vacating illegal occupants of structures in Railway property.

Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravi Kumar passed this order today in a plea that sought a stay against the said demolitions in Gujarat for a Railway line project. 

In August, the Supreme Court had directed the Gujarat government to maintain status quo with regard to demolition of the jhuggis in the State which would lead to eviction of 10,000 slum dwellers.

The order was passed after an urgent mentioning was made by Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves pointing out that High Court had vacated a stay order which had been in force since 2016.

Gonsalves had told a bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justice Surya Kant that the High Court had vacated its July 23, 2014 interim order of status quo and permitted the Western Railways to go ahead with the Surat-Udhna up to Jalgaon third Railway line project. 

The plea, filed by Surat-based 'Utran se Besthan Railway Jhopadpatti Vikas Mandal', had said that irreparable injury would be caused to the slum dwellers, who were residing on Railway land, if they were not provided with alternate arrangement and once they would be evicted, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cause Title: Utran se Besthan Railway Jhopadpatti Vikas Mandal v. Government of India