Supreme Court on Bulldozer: SC asks UP govt to follow due process of law for demolition drive; hearing again next week | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Uttar Pradesh government and authorities in Prayagraj and Kanpur to file their responses in three days on the alleged illegal use of bulldozers for “retaliatory demolition” of houses of riot-accused.
The apex court also told the UP government to strictly follow the due process of law while removing unauthorised structures. The hearing in the case has been scheduled for next week.
Senior advocate CU Singh and advocate Nithya Ramakrishnan, who appeared for Muslim body Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, told the Supreme Court that the UP chief minister had warned of retaliatory demolitions using bulldozers after which officials demolished the houses of riot-accused without serving notice as required under law. They also said that statements are being made by the highest constitutional authorities, including the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, and demolitions are subsequently being carried out without giving an opportunity to the alleged riot accused to vacate their houses.

A bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Vikram Nath said that there must be a “sense among citizenry that rule of law prevails in the country”.
Meanwhile, solicitor general (SG) Tushar Mehta said in the court that due process was followed. He claimed that it would be “travesty of judicial process if the Supreme Court gives an omnibus direction based on a PIL, that rule of law should be followed across the country”.
SG Mehta pointed out that no aggrieved person has approached the apex court as they knew the demolitions were carried out following due process of law. “Aggrieved persons are well-off and could move court to protect their property rights. The high court can give relief if their properties were legal,” he also said.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, who appeared for Prayagraj development authority, said prior notice as required by law was given in a case as far back as August 2020, before the demolitions were carried out. “We will put everything on affidavit. The PIL is riding on a misconceived notion spread after riots,” he added.
The top court was hearing pleas filed by Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, seeking directions to the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure that no further demolitions of properties of alleged accused of recent violence are carried out in the state.

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