{UP Demolition} No Illegal Bulldozing, Supreme Court Directs UP Government

UP Demolition

UTTAR PRADESH:  Amid allegations of Uttar Pradesh using bulldozers to target those who protested the controversial comments on Prophet Muhammad by members of the ruling BJP.

The Supreme Court today said, “Demolitions have to be in accordance with the law, they cannot be retaliatory”.

The UP government and the civic authorities of Prayagraj and Kanpur were directed to respond to a Supreme Court notice on demolitions before the next hearing on Tuesday.

“Everything should look fair…we expect the authorities to act only in accordance with the law. Ensure safety so that nothing untoward happens,” said the judges.

On petitioners asking the court to order a stop to “illegal demolitions” in UP, the judges said: “We can’t stay demolitions. We can say go in accordance with the law.”

An organization called the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind had approached the Supreme Court, asking it to act against officials responsible for what they called the “illegal” demolition of houses.

The court should ask the UP government to ensure no demolitions violated the law, the petitions urged. Footage of bulldozers demolishing homes of those arrested or identified as protesters in Kanpur, Saharanpur, and Prayagraj have spurred allegations that the UP administration is targeting a specific community over the protests against the Prophet’s comments.
Two persons were killed in Jharkhand and hundreds were arrested during the protests over the comments by BJP leader Nupur Sharma, who has since been suspended. Another BJP leader was expelled for his social media post.

The demolitions were “shocking and appalling”, the petitioners told the Supreme Court, alleging that notices were served after houses were razed.

“Adequate notices are a must. What is being done is unconstitutional and shocking. It is being done by targeting a community,” CU Singh, a lawyer for the petitioners, said.

He said a notice of at least 15 to 40 days was a must before any demolition.

“The respondents (UP government) will get time for their objections. We should ensure their (affected parties’) safety in the meantime. Let’s be clear, they’re also a part of society, ultimately, when someone has a grievance, they have a right to have it addressed,” said Justice AS Bopanna.

The UP government asserted that it had followed the law and had only razed homes that were illegally built. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the demolitions had been carried out “irrespective of community”.

“The due course of law is followed for demolitions. The media links the demolitions with political statements unnecessarily,” said senior lawyer Harish Salve on behalf of the UP administration.

The petitioners expressed fear of more demolitions over the weekend and requested the Supreme Court for interim protection. “Petitioners rely on Newspaper reports. We rely on official records,” said Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the UP government.

Sources – NDTV News

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