A Supreme Court bench of Justices LN Rao and BR Gavai has started hearing petitions on demolitions in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri neighbourhood, where violence broke out between two communities during Hanuman Jayanti on Saturday last. Several concrete and temporary structures close to a mosque were brought down on Wednesday morning as part of an anti-encroachment drive by the BJP-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation. The Supreme Court had to intervene twice to stop the drive after it took cognisance of a petition filed by Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind against the demolition.
Here are the updates of Jahangirpuri demolition Supreme Court hearing:
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No demolitions in Jahangirpuri until further orders.
Supreme Court orders status quo on Jahangirpuri demolitions.
Supreme Court issues notice to authorities.
“Will take a serious view of all demolitions that took place after the Supreme Court decision was communicated to the mayor,” said Supreme Court.
Matter to be heard after two weeks.
When notices are not needed…
Government’s lawyer Tushar Mehta: In the notice section, nothing applies to building material and removal of stalls, chairs, tables. These can be done without notice.
Matter to be heard after 2 weeks: Supreme Court
Supreme Court: We will take a serious view of all demolitions that took place after the Supreme Court decision was communicated to the mayor. Issue notice in all petitions. Status quo to be maintained. To be heard after two weeks.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta: It’s not individuals who came to court first. It was Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind. And it was not one community that was targeted. In Khargone, 88 affected parties were Hindus and 26 were Muslims. I am sorry to bifurcate them. The government does not want to. But I am compelled to. Notices were issued in 2021. Even in Delhi, notices were issued earlier.
Supreme Court: Demolition yesterday only restricted to chairs, box, benches? And for that you need a bulldozer? As per law 5-12 days notice is supposed to be given.
Tushar Mehta: Let individuals come forward if they can substantiate that they were not given a notice.
Supreme Court: We will then say that individuals can file an affidavit and till then status quo can be continued.
Notices not needed in some cases: Government lawyer
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta: As far as Jahangirpuri is concerned, the drive to remove what was on footpath has been done several times since January. April 19 was the fifth drive this year. Now organisations have suddenly jumped in, filing petition. In certain cases, notices were not needed. Where it was needed, it was issued.
Supreme Court: The order was passed at 10:45 am. What time was it communicated to the MCD?
Dushyant Dave (petitioners’ lawyer): The authorities themselves spoke to the media at 11 am about the Supreme Court order, yet they continued demolition.
Sanjay Hegde for a demolition victim: I told them about the Supreme Court order, yet it was demolished.
“Not bringing in politics”: Brinda Karat
Advocate Surendranath for CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat: We seek compensation. We told the MCD through Ms Karat that Supreme Court ordered status quo, yet demolition continued. She tried to physically stop them. I am not bringing in politics. It’s a fact.
Supreme Court: What is the relief you are seeking?
Kapil Sibal for petitioners: Encroachments are not limited to one community. You cannot connect it to just one community. This is not a forum for politics. We want your lordship to tell the world that rule of law prevails in this country. We want stay on demolitions.
Supreme Court: We can’t put a stay on all kinds of demolition across the country.
Kapil Sibal: Those with bulldozers…
Supreme Court: Demolition is always done with bulldozers only.
Kapil Sibal, appearing for Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, said: Demolitions are happening across India. Muslims were targeted, especially during Ram Navami days these things were happening. Then houses of only one community were demolished.
Supreme Court: No property belonging to Hindus demolished yesterday?
Kapil Sibal: Remarks have been made by a Minister that if Muslims carry out such attacks then they should not expect justice. The homes of people who were not even in the area on the day of the incident were demolished.
Petitioners’ lawyer Dushyant Dave: A reasonable opportunity is to be given (before demolition). You have destroyed homes now. Who is responsible? You will not touch Sainik Farms and south Delhi, where every other home would be unauthorised, but you will come to demolish homes of poor people? The letter by the Delhi BJP chief is a sad commentary on the state of our nation.
Supreme Court: That was his wish?
Mr Dave: That wish was implemented by MCD (Municipal Corporation). They took his wish (for demolition) as their command.
Supreme Court: Which provision says that notice is supposed to be issued in advance?
Petitioners’ lawyer Dushyant Dave: It’s there in the Municipal Corporation Act. And even otherwise right of shelter would provide for such things.
“Target only one community?”: Petitioners’ lawyer
Petitioners’ lawyer Dushyant Dave: (Reading out from the Special Delhi Act about laws on encroachments and related issues) there are 1,731 unauthorised colonies with 50 lakh people. But you target one community.
“No rule of law will be left”: Petitioners
Petitioners’ lawyer Dushyant Dave: Bulldozing began after overnight orders. Then the Supreme Court orders status quo. The issue affects the social fabric of this country. If this is not stopped there will be no rule of law and no democracy left. The Delhi BJP chief writes a letter and demolition begins. The municipal corporation law says a notice required.
Dushyant Dave for Jahangirpuri petitioners: It’s an important issue for the country.
Supreme Court: It only pertains to an area. What is the national importance?
Dushyant Dave: It’s in every riot affected area. Nothing like this in 1984 or 2002. Why suddenly? Delhi has a law on encroachments. It’s extraordinarily important. A particular section of society has been targeted. This is the warning that our constitutional framers gave us.
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