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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

SC stays Jahangirpuri anti-encroachment drive for two weeks, had failed to order clearing of anti-farm law protests for 1 year!

The status quo order against the anti-encroachment drive undertaken by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NMDC) in the violence-hit Jahangirpuri neighbourhood was passed by the Supreme Court on Wednesday, and the bench ordered the stay will continue for another two weeks on Thursday.

The Supreme Court said on Thursday that the apparent ‘defiance’ of its order to maintain the status quo in connection to the North Delhi Municipal Corporation’s (NDMC) anti-encroachment drive in Jahangirpuri would be ‘taken seriously’ [Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind v. North Delhi Municipal Corporation].

In the suit filed by the Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, a bench of Justices L Nageshwar Rao and BR Gavai issued notice to the NMDC and requested its counter affidavit within two weeks.

For the petitioner, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Dushyant Dave appeared. Both Senior Advocates essentially stated that the demolition drives are being carried out ‘without any procedure or due process’, and that they are being carried out in order to ‘attack the Muslim population’.

When Sibal told the court that “encroachments are a problem in Delhi, but encroachments are now being identified with Muslims,” Justice Rao responded, “Properties of Hindus are also being demolished.” Sibal then stated that he does not recall the last time this occurred, and demanded that the bench explain when it occurred.

At this point, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta stated that the demolitions had been carried out with prior notice, and that the drive in Jahangirpuri had started in January.

On the question of whether a specific community was targeted, Mehta told the Court that the issue currently being debated in Delhi is that of Khargone, “where 88 affected parties were Hindus and 26 were Muslims“, and that, while he would prefer not to separate citizens based on religion as the government would not, he is “forced to do so due to Jamiat Ulema I Hind’s submissions”.

“This is a pattern; whenever action is taken, organisations and political spectrums come forward,” Mehta said, adding that no individuals have come forward but that organisations have.

The bench further stated that the court will consider the demolition that occurred after the court issued a stay order ‘very seriously’. On the other hand, the Supreme Court in another case commuted the death sentence awarded to Mohd. Firoz for the brutal rape & murder of a 4-year-old girl.

In Jahangirpuri, a dedicated encroachment removal action programme was established by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation. The PWD, local body, police, and several departments of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation were involved in the encroachment clearance action programme, according to a senior official of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation who wrote to the DCP north-west.

In the letter, the assistant commissioner of the North MCD’s Civil Lines Zone ordered 400 police officers to keep law and order during the removal drive on April 19, 20, and 21.

Dushyant Dave had presented the case to a Supreme Court bench led by the Chief Justice of India yesterday, claiming that demolition notices had been issued and that the demolition process had commenced despite the authorities’ knowledge that the case was being heard in the Supreme Court.

Jamiat Ulema I-Hind, the petitioner in this case, has given tremendous legal support to the perpetrators of Ahmedabad blasts, which killed 56 people and injured over 200 others on 26th July, 2008. Additionally, it provided free legal aid to Indian Mujahedeen terrorist Miraza Himayat Baig accused in German Bakery Bomb Blast case, which claimed 17 lives in 2010. Baig was sentenced to death by a Pune court on April 2013 along with co-accused Yasin Bhatkal.

Kabil Sibal and Dushyant Dave had earlier appeared against the construction of Ram Mandir. Sibal defended the Islamist petitioner in the controversial Hadiya Case [Shafin Jahan vs. Ashokan KM] where a Hindu girl was brainwashed and married to a PFI functionary, appealed against the Karnataka HC order in the ‘Hijab in classroom’ matter, and is now fighting to prevent demolition of the encroachment by anti-Hindu rioters. He termed Ram Sethu as ‘imaginary’ & had also represented petitioners against CAA.

Ironically, the same Supreme Court failed to clear the illegal occupation of Delhi’s borders and arterial roads by ‘farmer’ protestors for over an year despite multiple pleas by ordinary citizens and rights groups at various levels. The court also sat for months over the report of an expert committee appointed by it to discuss the new farm laws with various stakeholders. Exasperated, a member of the committee finally released the report last month, ruing that if SC had released the report which was submitted in March 2021, the misapprehensions of the farmers could have been addressed and repeal of the much-needed farm laws could have been avoided.

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