Supreme Court orders all tiers of government to refrain from evicting squatters from their shelterThe order comes amid a series of forceful evictions of landless people around the country.
The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered all tiers of government not to resort to forceful eviction of people from their settlements, no matter where they are living, for now.
Responding to a writ petition filed by a group of human rights lawyers and activists on Monday, a single bench of Justice Tanka Moktan directed government agencies to stop forceful eviction of the landless until further orders.
“The court has issued an interim order to stop forceful evictions and has called all the parties of the case for a hearing next week,” Raju Chapagain, one of the petitioners, told the Post.
On July 18, Chitwan National Park officials burnt down two huts and destroyed eight others using elephants to evict Chepang families living on the banks of Kusum Khola, an area that falls inside the national park. Ten families from the indigenous community living in the area since 1997 were rendered homeless and almost all families lost their identity documents and other valuables during the incident.
The plaintiffs and defendants have been called to the court on Wednesday for a hearing. Fourteen human rights lawyers and activists had moved the court seeking its intervention to stop authorities from evicting landless people from their houses during the rainy season.
The petitioners said that despite Article 37 of the Constitution of Nepal ensuring the people’s right to housing as a fundamental right, all tiers of governments have been involved in forcefully evicting landless people from the marginalised communities.
The forceful evictions are not just a blatant attack on the laws, but also a violation of different international conventions, according to the petition.
On May 16, officials from the Bardiya National Park issued a notice to the indigenous Tharu community of Barbardiya Rural Municipality-7 to leave their settlement within a week, alleging that they encroached upon land belonging to the park.
The park, however, could not evict them following criticism from different quarters. The families of freed Kamaiyas (bonded labourers) have been living in the area since 2006.
Similarly, on June 9 last year, officials from Butwal Sub-metropolitan City-1 bulldozed 16 houses belonging to the Muslim community saying the settlement was built on encroached land. In another incident, three families from the Dalit community were driveb away from a peice of land belonging to Guthi Sansthan in Jananakpur Metropolitan City-12.
The Chitwan National Park authority has apologised for destroying the settlement of the Chepang community and the Ministry of Forest has transferred the chief conservation officer Narayan Rupakheti to Kathmandu. However, separate teams from the government and the National Human Rights Commission are investigating the incident.