The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday took suo motu cognisance of the demolition drive in Haryana’s Nuh and Gurugram districts, asking the Haryana government whether any notice was issued before the exercise.
The court of Justices G.S. Sandhawalia and Harpreet Kaur Jeewan issued a notice to the State government. The court said no demolitions could be done without following the procedure as prescribed in law. “Accordingly, we issue directions to Haryana to furnish an affidavit as to how many buildings have been demolished in the last two weeks, both in Nuh and Gurugram, and whether any notice was issued before demolition. If any such demolition is to be carried out today, it should be stopped if the procedure is not followed as per law,” the Bench said.
The High Court said news reports showed that demolitions were being carried out in two districts — Nuh and Gurugram, and the action was stated to be on account of the fact that the individuals involved in the anti-social activities had made illegal constructions. The court said constructions next to a hospital in the form of commercial buildings, residential buildings, restaurants which were in existence for a long time had been brought down by bulldozers. The reports also said the Home Minister (of Haryana) himself had said bulldozers were part of ‘illaj’ (treatment) since the government was probing communal violence, said the Bench.
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Law and order problem
The court said, “Apparently, without any demolition orders, the law and order problem is being used as a ruse to bring down buildings without following the procedure established by law. The issue also arises whether the buildings belonging to a particular community are being brought down under the guise of law and order problem and an exercise of ethnic cleansing is being conducted by the State.” Next hearing is scheduled for August 11.
The Nuh administration, during its demolition drive against illegal constructions and the properties of those suspected to be involved in the communal clashes had razed over 162 permanent and 591 temporary structures at 37 places, including a hotel that was allegedly used by the rioters to pelt stones at a procession organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on July 31. Violent clashes had erupted between the two communities during the religious procession.