SC tells Uttar Pradesh govt to follow process of law for demolition of unauthorised structures, seeks State's reply

The bench clarified that it cannot stay the demolitions but can only say that such action should be strictly under the due process of law.

FPJ BureauUpdated: Friday, June 17, 2022, 12:25 AM IST
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SC tells Uttar Pradesh govt to follow process of law for demolition of unauthorised structures, seeks State's reply | PTI

Stating that “everything should be fair” and authorities should strictly follow due procedure under the law, the Supreme Court on Thursday gave the Uttar Pradesh government and its authorities three days to respond to pleas which alleged that the houses of those accused in last week’s violence were illegally demolished.

“There must be a sense among the citizens that the rule of law prevails in the country,” a vacation bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Vikram Nath said and urged the authorities to ensure nothing untoward happens until it hears the matter on June 21.

The bench added, “How do we ensure their safety in the meantime? We have a duty towards them. We should ensure their safety in the meantime. Let us be clear, they (accused) are also part of society. Ultimately, when someone has some grievances, they should get a chance to address them. If this court does not come to their rescue, that would not be appropriate. Everything should look fair.”

The bench clarified that it cannot stay the demolitions but can only say that such action should be strictly under the due process of law.

Justice Bopanna said, “We as judges are also part of the society. We also see what is happening. Sometimes, we also form our impressions.”

The top court was hearing pleas filed by the Muslim body – Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind – seeking directions to the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure that no further demolitions of properties of alleged accused of recent violence are carried out in the state.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, and senior advocate Harish Salve, representing the Kanpur and Prayagraj civic authorities, said the due process of law was followed and notice in one instance of demolition was given way back in August 2020.

Senior advocates C U Singh, Huzefa Ahmadi, and Nitya Ramakrishnan, appearing for the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, said statements are being made by the highest constitutional authorities, including the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, and demolitions are subsequently being carried out without giving an opportunity to the alleged riot accused to vacate their houses.

“Since the status quo order was only in connection with Jahangirpuri, the state authorities in Uttar Pradesh have acted and demolished properties of persons accused of rioting, protesting, and criminal activities. This action of demolition of houses of the alleged accused is appalling and has never been seen in this country even during the emergency period. More so members of a particular community are targeted,” Singh said.

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