Can't Stay Demolition, It Has To Be In Accordance With Law: SC Seeks UP's Response On PIL Against Demolition In Prayagraj and Kanpur
The Supreme Court today sought response from the Uttar Pradesh Government while refusing to stay the demolition drive in the Kanpur and Prayagraj districts of Uttar Pradesh.
The Vacation Bench comprising of Justice A. S. Bopanna and Justice Vikram Nath refused to pass any interim order in the matter stating that, "we cannot stay all the demolitions but we can ask that the demolition be done in accordance with law."
Senior Advocate C. U. Singh appearing for the petitioners submitted that while demolition is happening, statements are being made by senior officials that the houses of people involved in communal violence will be demolished.
He argued, "We are submitting that what is being done is absolutely unconstitutional and which is being done by targeting a community which is horrifying." Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi submitted that "there is a very strong case of malafides, that only those who are accused in FIR their houses are picked. I suggest that your lordship would protect the people."
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the State of Uttar Pradesh submitted that none of the affected persons has come before the Court and that an organisation has come for all of them.
Senior Advocate Harish Salve appearing for the UP Authority submitted that the allegation that notice was not given is based on news report. He also submitted that in the Prayagraj demolition case, notice was issued on May 10 and on May 25 demolition order was passed. He said that this was even prior to the riots. He also stated that notices were issued in other matters as well.
The Bench was hearing an application filed by the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind in the PIL that was filed against the demolition drive that took place in the Jahangirpuri area of Delhi by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation. Jamiat had through a new affidavit sought a writ of Mandamus to the Union of India and the State Government so that no lasting precipitative action is taken against any accused in any criminal proceeding.
Jamiat had in its affidavit referred to the protest and the ensuing scuffle that happened in Kanpur District of Uttar Pradesh and stated that several persons of authority including the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh have given statements in the media that the houses and properties of the perpetrators would be razed using bulldozers.
The affidavit stated that, "adoption of such extra-legal measures is clearly in violation of the principles of natural justice, especially when this Hon'ble Court is hearing the present matter. It is pertinent to note that in the present matter this Hon'ble Court ordered stay of demolitions that were being carried out as a punitive measure in Northwest Delhi in similar circumstances. Hence, considering that the captioned matter is currently pending before this Hon'ble Court, restoring to such measures is even more alarming."
Jamiat had prayed that no precipitative action be taken in Kanpur District against the residential or commercial property of any accused in any criminal proceedings as an extra-legal punitive measure, and that directions be issued to the State of Uttar Pradesh to ensure that any demolition exercise of any nature must be carried out strictly in accordance with applicable laws, and only after due notice and opportunity of hearing is given to each of the affected persons.