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Uttar Pradesh demolition | Supreme Court to hear Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind plea on July 13

Supreme Court of India. File

Supreme Court of India. File | Photo Credit: S. Subramanium

The Supreme Court on June 29 scheduled on July 13 the hearing of a plea filed by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind accusing the Uttar Pradesh government of indulging in "retributive" demolition of the properties of persons allegedly linked to the violence following the Prophet remarks row.

A Vacation Bench led by Justice Surya Kant adjourned the case after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for Uttar Pradesh, informed that the Jamiat had filed a rejoinder only on June 28 with new facts. Mr. Mehta said an affected party had independently approached the Allahabad High Court, and the Jamiat was only a third party litigating the case in the Supreme Court.

Advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan, appearing for the petitioner, agreed to the adjournment.

In a hearing on June 16, the Supreme Court had told the Uttar Pradesh government that demolitions could happen only in accordance with the provisions of the law and could not be retaliatory.

“Ultimately, the rule of law should prevail… any action by you should be in accordance with the law,” the court had said then.

‘Not extra legal punitive measures’

Subsequently, in an affidavit, the Uttar Pradesh government had maintained that the demolitions were not “extra legal punitive measures” targeting persons of a particular religious community linked to rioting, but routine measures taken by independent local authorities against owners of illegal structures.

The State government had denied doing anything “extraordinary” and stuck to its portrayal of autonomous development authorities and their bulldozers going about their duties dispassionately without fear or favour.

The State had taken offence to the Jamiat’s accusations that the constitutional high-functionaries of Uttar Pradesh, with their statements, had triggered the bulldozers.

“We take strong exception to the attempt by the petitioner [Jamiat] to name the highest constitutional functionaries of the State and falsely colour the local development authorities' lawful actions strictly complying with the U.P. Urban Planning and Development Act of 1973 as ‘extra legal punitive measures’ against accused persons, targeting any particular religious community,” the government had stated in its affidavit filed through the Special Secretary, Uttar Pradesh Home Department.

Uttar Pradesh had said rioters were already being dealt with under separate laws such as the U.P. Gangster Act, Prevention of Public Property Damages Act, Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Act, Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Penal Code.

The State had flatly denied allegations that local authorities were influenced by higher powers in the State, saying “development authorities are autonomous bodies that carry out enforcement proceedings independently on the facts of each case… the 1973 Act empowers them to demolish unauthorised/illegal constructions and encroachments”.

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2022 7:28:49 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/up-demolition-sc-to-hear-jamiat-ulama-i-hind-plea-on-july-13/article65578954.ece