Right To Housing

The right to adequate housing has been widely recognized and accepted as a part of the right to life by the international community as well as in India. Despite having ensconced the right to housing as a part of the larger right to human dignity, right to equality, social and economic rights, the basic provisions, which form the spirit of right to housing are blatantly violated all across the country. The objective of the initiative is to monitor and stop illegal or forced evictions, and network with other organizations to evolve a joint action campaign ensuring the right to Housing.

What SLIC Does?

The SLIC Housing Rights Initiative works on behalf of those who lack secure and adequate housing. This involves providing community legal literacy campaigns to help empower slum and JJ Cluster residents with the knowledge of their rights and how to best defend them, providing legal aid when these residents are threatened with or suffer illegal evictions or demolitions, ensuring that rehabilitation and relocation programs are done in accordance with the law, and ensuring that existing policies and programs are improved so that they are in compliance with judgements from the Supreme Court and with International Law. It partners with other organizations that work on behalf of related communities to strengthen the movement and expand its reach. And it examines the interconnections between the Right to Housing and other fundamental constituent rights, such as the Rights to Food, Water, Health, Education and Livelihood, to inform a holistic rights-based approach to housing.

The team reviews legal and administrative provisions for the urban poor. It studies provisions of the master plan for housing of urban poor and suggests pro-poor changes. It also provides for large scale dissemination of data , developing strategies of intervention and building greater public support for the campaign.

The initiative is involved in campaigning and advocacy with policy makers, bureaucrats and progressive town planners to implement pro-poor policies and adequate housing and land supply. It monitors forced evictions and creates extensive documentation which stir public outcry in national as well as international circles. After conducting inquiry into large-scale forced eviction in seven states, the first report of NFHR (National Forum for Housing Rights) was published in collaboration with SLIC in 2003.

Main Concerns

Illegal forced evictions and demolitions.
Inadequate accommodations within relocation colonies.
Violations to the Right to Education, Healthcare, Food, Water and Livelihood that result from
        evictions and demolitions.
City, state/territory and central government policies which do not protect the Right to Housing.
Inadequate provisions for EWS and LIG housing in city and state planning and budgets.

SLIC Impact

SLIC has filed a number of cases related to housing rights. In most of these cases, when SLIC is able to get to court before the bulldozers, the communities received protections from illegal evictions in the form of protective status quo stay orders. These generally continue for the duration of the case and the government agencies are directed to perform proper surveys and/or provide the necessary rehabilitation. In a typical case, there are hundreds of families involved, resulting in relief for thousands of individuals. Occasionally, landmark decisions such as that in Mukundi Lal (a.k.a. Sudama Singh) result advance the field and become the foundation for future cases, and likely affects the behaviour of government agencies towards communities.

SLIC also works with a variety of partner organizations to make them more effective advocates for the rights of slum dwellers. It has provided legal literacy trainings to slum resident organizations, assisted organizations with field-staff with tools for documenting and surveying communities at risk, and provided legal tools and assistance to other lawyers working on these issues.


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