The Supreme Court has extended the order of status quo regarding the demolition drive carried out by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation in the Jahangirpuri area. The Court has issued notice in all cases and has directed parties to file pleadings regarding whether or not notices were served before demolition.
The Bench comprising of Justice L. Nageshwar Rao and Justice B. R. Gavai considered a PIL filed by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind against the drive against illegal encroachment at Jahangirpuri, along with another PIL by the same petitioner against razing the properties of people who were being accused of pelting stones on the occasion of Ram Navami in various states of the country.
Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave argued that a particular section of the society is being targeted through the demolition drive and that Jahangirpuri was picked despite there being 731 unauthorised colonies in Delhi. Dave relied upon Section 343 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 to argue that notice should have been given before the demolition of structures.
Dave also referred to the letter written by Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta to the NMCD Mayor seeking the demolition of the illegal structures. He alleged that the NMCD authorities acted on the basis of that letter, without following the law.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal argued that the Muslim community is being associated with illegal encroachment. He argued that encroachment is not limited to any particular community.
When Kapil Sibal submitted that the demolitions should be stayed, the Court said that it is not going to stay demolitions in the whole country.
Senior Advocate PV Surendranath appeared for CPM leader Brinda Karat in a plea filed by her highlighting the alleged violation of the interim order by continuing demolition even after the order was passed. He submitted that the drive went on till 12.45 pm and that it had to be physically stopped by Brinda Karat.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that organisations have approached the Court instead of individuals since individuals will have to produce their respective documents, which, according to him, would show that notices were served.
Tushar Mehta submitted that in the demolition drive in Madhya Pradesh, 88 affected parties were Hindus while 26 were Muslims. He also argued that for removing stalls, tables, chairs etc. notice is not required. He insisted that notices were issued before structures were demolished.
Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde appearing for a shop owner denied that notice was issued to him.
Yesterday, the Bench of Chief Justice N. V. Ramana had ordered, "Status quo, as exists today, shall be maintained, until further orders". The order was passed upon mentioning the matter before the Benchy by Senior Advocates Dushyant Dave and Kapil Sibal. The Bench had also directed that the matter be listed before the appropriate Bench today.
However, when the drive continued even after the passing of the order, the matter was mentioned again before the CJI, who then ordered directed the Secretary General of the Court to communicate the order to the NDMC Mayor and the Delhi Police Commissioner immediately.
The Special Commissioner of Police, Law & Order told the media at around 12.45 pm that the anti-encroachment drive has been stopped in the Jahangirpuri area. By then, a substantial demolition drive had been carried out in the Jahangiripuri area, including the demolition of a portion of a Mosque, which was allegedly constructed illegally after encroachment.
Today, two more petitions were filed on the same issue. One by a juice shop owner, stating that his shop was demolished despite possessing all licences and seeking compensation from the NDMC and the second one by CPM leader Brinda Karat.
The matters will now be listed after two weeks.