oppn parties Supreme Court Refuses To Stay UP Demolitions

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Supreme Court Refuses To Stay UP Demolitions

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2022-06-17 07:14:31

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator.

The Supreme Court, hearing a plea against illegal demolitions in UP which are allegedly targeted against one community by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, has warned the state government against conducting future demolitions without following the law but refused to stay such demolitions. It asked the state administration and the civic authorities in Prayagraj and Kanpur (the two places that were cited by the Jamiat in its plea) to come up with their response in three days and fixed the next hearing in the matter for next week.

The UP government (as have some other state governments) has decided to strike back at so-called rioters, goondas and stone-pelters by choosing to move against them under the most widely flouted building laws across India. If a survey was conducted, it would be found that more than 90% of private buildings in the country have violated local building rules. The collusion of civic officials is widespread and corruption is rampant.

Obviously this does not mean that the government cannot demolish these structures. But the present use of bulldozers is being resented by all right thinking Indians for several reasons. First, it is being done selectively and is being done against those from the Muslim community who are charged with rioting, stone pelting and goondaism. Then, the administration is playing judge jury and executioner by deciding that the person accused is guilty of the crime without the need of getting it proved in a court of law. Also, the accused is not being given sufficient time as per law to respond to the charges against him or her. Further, it is not being verified whether the structure being demolished actually belongs to the accused (in Prayagraj, it was reported that the demolished structure was in the name of the wife of the accused). Lastly, there is no law in India which says that the punishment for rioting, goonadism or stone pelting is to raze the property of the accused.

The government or the civic administration has the backing of law if they want to raze illegal structures. But by not following due process, they are being highhanded and breaking the law when they can be on the right side of the law by giving sufficient and advance notice. But then, the administration knows that if an advance notice is given, the accused might get a stay order from the courts. Thus, they are adopting this quick retaliation method which is illegal and needs to be stopped. The Supreme Court must keep a watch and decide after receiving the response from the UP government and the civic authorities in Prayagraj and Kanpur.