'Demolitions have to be in accordance with law', SC on plea against 'bulldozer action' in UP
New Delhi, June 16, 2022
Directing the Uttar Pradesh government to file a detailed affidavit within three days on the plea by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind against the recent demolitions in the state, the Supreme Court on Thursday observed that demolitions have to be in accordance with the due process of law.
Issuing notice to the state, the apex court bench of Justices A. S. Bopanna and Vikram Nath orally remarked that demolitions cannot be a retaliatory measure.
"Everything should look fair, we expect the authorities to act only in accordance with the law. Ensure safety so that nothing untoward happens," noted the top court.
The matter will be further heard next week.
During the course of the hearing, advocate Chander Uday Singh, who appeared for the petitioner, strongly argued that one community was targeted and the process of demolition was "appalling".
The country has never seen such situations even during the Emergency period, he remarked. He argued that notices were not issued prior to the demolition referring to Section 27 of the UP Urban Planning and Development Act and said notice was issued without the 15-day duration as per the law.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, who appeared for the state of Uttar Pradesh, argued that the media was creating unnecessary hype on the issue. He also pointed out notices that had been issued long before the riots referring to instances of demolitions. He also argued that someone was riding the wave to protect their illegal properties, saying the demolitions were happening irrespective of communities.
In the plea, moved against the backdrop of the ongoing row over comments on the Prophet and subsequent demolition drives, the Jamiat Ulama sought directions to initiate action against those officials who were responsible for the houses allegedly demolished in violation of the rule of law and the municipal laws enacted by the state.
The plea stated that the present situation is more alarming as the Supreme Court had already ordered a stay of demolitions that were being carried out as a punitive measure in northwest Delhi in similar circumstances.
"It is a violation of the orders of the Supreme Court," it read.
Incidents of violence and slogan-shouting were reported from Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj and Saharanpur last Friday (June 10) after prayers when people began protesting against former BJP spokespersons' remarks on the Prophet.
On Sunday, bulldozers, now a symbol of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's crackdown on anti-social elements, reached the residence of Mohammad Javed, a.k.a. Javed Pump, who has been identified as the main conspirator behind the violence that erupted in the city on June 10.
The Prayagraj Development Authority had served notice to demolish the house that was allegedly built without getting the requisite permissions.