NEW DELHI: Taking note of “contradictory stands” taken by Indian Railways before various high courts and the Supreme Court on relocation and rehabilitation of slum dwellers encroaching upon its land, the apex court on Monday sought explanation from the secretary of the railways ministry. It directed submission of an affidavit within a week.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves submitted that the Railways had told the Delhi High Court that it was adopting the policy of Delhi government for rehabilitating squatters who had encroached upon its land, and even the solicitor general, while appearing for the ministry, had told the Supreme Court last year that it was formulating a policy.

But the Railways argued before the Gujarat high court that there was no such policy and it was also not contemplating any policy, he contended.

The bench was hearing the plea against an order passed by the Gujarat HC, directing eviction of over 10,000 slum dwellers living near railway lines in Surat.

Challenging the high court order, the petitioner alleged that demolition without providing rehabilitation scheme was illegal. ASG KM Nataraj told the bench court that there is no such policy in place for rehabilitation.

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