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Former judges write to Supreme Court against U.P. demolitions

Bulldozer being used to demolish the ‘illegally constructed’ residence of Javed Ahmed, a local leader who was allegedly the key conspirator of violent protests against now-suspended BJP leaders’ remarks on Prophet Muhammad, in Prayagraj, on June 12, 2022.

Bulldozer being used to demolish the ‘illegally constructed’ residence of Javed Ahmed, a local leader who was allegedly the key conspirator of violent protests against now-suspended BJP leaders’ remarks on Prophet Muhammad, in Prayagraj, on June 12, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Six former judges of the Supreme Court and various High Courts and six senior advocates have appealed to the Supreme Court to take  suo motu cognisance of the recent acts of bulldozing residences of those who protested in Prayagraj against the objectionable remarks made by certain BJP spokespersons.

The petition, signed by Justices B. Sudarshan Reddy, V. Gopala Gowda, A.K. Ganguly, A.P. Shah, K. Chandru and Mohammed Anwar, and veteran advocates Shanti Bhushan, Indira Jaisingh, Chander Uday Singh, Sriram Panchu, Prashant Bhushan and Anand Grover, cited reports of violence and repression by the authorities on citizens in Uttar Pradesh. They said that instead of giving protesters an opportunity of being heard, the U.P. administration appears to have sanctioned violent actions against them. The petition added that the State Chief Minister had directed that the National Security Act, 1980, and the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986, be invoked against the protesters.

“Videos of young men in police custody being beaten with lathis, houses of protesters being demolished without notice or any cause of action, and protesters from the minority Muslim community being chased and beaten by the police, are circulating on social media, shaking the conscience of the nation. Such a brutal clampdown by a ruling administration is an unacceptable subversion of the rule of law,” the petition said.

“It is a violation of the rights of citizens, and makes a mockery of the Constitution and fundamental rights guaranteed by the State,” the petition added. Demolitions, it added, are a form of collective extra judicial punishment, attributable to a state policy which is illegal.

The petition said the mettle of the judiciary is tested in such critical times and urged the Supreme Court to take immediate  suo motu action to arrest the deteriorating law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh — specifically involving the high-handedness of the police and State authorities — and the brutal clampdown on the fundamental rights of citizens.


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Printable version | Jun 15, 2022 6:56:14 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/up-demolition-ex-sc-hc-judges-senior-lawyers-write-to-chief-justice-of-india-for-suo-motu-action/article65527102.ece