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Cannot pass blanket order against demolitions in India, says SC | Top points

Bulldozers tore down several concrete and temporary structures close to a mosque in Jahangirpuri on Wednesday as part of an anti-encroachment drive by the NDMC, days after the northwest Delhi neighbourhood was rocked by communal violence.

Written by: India TV News Desk New Delhi Updated on: April 21, 2022 12:41 IST
Supreme Court of India/Bulldozers being used to remove
Image Source : PTI

Supreme Court of India/Bulldozers being used to remove illegal structures during a joint anti-encroachment drive by NDMC, PWD, local bodies and the police, in the violence-hit Jahangirpuri area, in New Delhi, Wednesday, April 20, 2022. 

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered to maintain the status quo until further orders in the anti-encroachment drive in Delhi's violence-hit Jahangirpuri area. A bench led by Chief Justice NV Ramana also issued notice to the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), others on plea filed by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind against the demolition of illegal structures in the area.

"We'll take a serious view of demolition that took place after information was given to Mayor", the bench also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai said and deferred the hearing for the next two weeks. The court also issued notice to the Centre, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat governments on another petition filed by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind against the authorities in different states resorting to the demolition of houses of persons accused in crimes.

Earlier on Wednesday, the court had ordered status quo on demolitions until further orders in Jahangirpuri after an urgent mention was made by senior advocate Dushyant Dave on behalf of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind.

What happened in SC today 

  1. Dave in the SC submitted that it was a matter related to "national importance". Dave said that it has become a "State policy" now that after every riots, a particular section of the society is targeted using bulldozers. 
  2. Dave pointed out there is a legislation in Delhi that regularised colonies. "There are 731 unauthorised colonies in Delhi with lakhs of people and you pick up one colony because you target 1 community!".
  3. "Our homes are more than 30 years old...our shops are beyond 30 years old...we are in a democracy and how can this be allowed?" Dave asked.
  4. Dave referred to Section 343 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act to say that no order of demolition can be passed without giving a reasonable opportunity of hearing to the person. "They have demolished homes. Who should be held accountable? These are poor people. If you want to act against unauthorized constructions, you go to Sainik Farms. Go to Golf Links where every second home is an encroachment. You don't want to touch them, but target the poor people", Dave submitted.
  5. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing in the second petition filed by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind against the demolition of homes of accused in other states, said that muslims are associated with encroachments. He said, "Encroachment is a serious problem all over India but the issue is Muslims are being associated with encroachments."
  6. Justice Rao asked Sibal, "No Hindu properties were affected?". He then replied saying, "Some isolated instances. My plea is that such instances are happening in other states also. When processions are carried out and frictions occur, homes of only one community is bulldozed...", Sibal submitted.
  7. Sibal said that In Madhya Pradesh, a Minister says that if Muslims do such a thing they cannot expect justice. Who decides that? Who gave him that power? "I have photos where people from a community were gated and their houses were demolished. What is this process, to instil fear to sideline rule of law?" he said.
  8. Sibal then requested the top court that an order be passed to restrain demolitions in this manner till the matter is heard. The bench, however, said that it cannot pass a blanket order against demolitions on a pan-India basis.

READ MORE: Jahangirpuri violence: SC extends status quo, issues notice to NDMC, others


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