New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai on Thursday ordered the status quo to be maintained for another two weeks after hearing petitions filed by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind challenging the demolition drive being carried out by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) against the alleged encroachers in northwest Delhi’s Jahangirpuri area, where communal clashes broke out on Hanuman Jayanti.
During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta stated that both pleas have been filed by the Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind and the allegation that one community is being targeted is “incorrect”.
Countering his arguments, senior advocate Dushyant Dave said the matter raises far-reaching questions of constitutional and national importance. He also stated, “this isn’t an issue confined to Jahangirpuri, if this is allowed there will be no rule of law left.” Dave went on to say that police and civil authorities are bound by the Constitution and not by letters written by a BJP leader and this is a sad scenario.
In his turn, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said, “encroachments are a serious issue but the issue is that Muslims are being associated with encroachments,” adding that “such instances are also happening in other states.”
After hearing their arguments, the Supreme Court bench issued notice to the NDMC and others on plea against the demolition drive in Jahangirpuri. The bench, while ordering a status quo for another two weeks, directed the NDMC and others to file a reply on the plea at the earliest.
Earlier on Wednesday, senior advocate Kapil Sibal mentioned the plea filed by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind questioning the validity of demolition launched after riots in several BJP-ruled states, including Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana and also comprising Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, had agreed to list it with the Jahangirpuri matter on Thursday. Prior to that, the bench had ordered status quo on the NDMC demolition drive and agreed to list the matter for hearing on Thursday before an appropriate bench.
"A number of ministers and legislators, including the Chief Minister and the Home Minister of the state of Madhya Pradesh, have made statements advocating such acts and especially threatened the minority groups with the destruction of their homes and commercial properties in case of riots. Resorting to such measures/ actions is clearly against our constitutional ethos and the criminal justice system, as also in violation of the rights of accused persons," said the plea by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind.
During the course of the hearing, mentioning the demolition matter before the CJI-headed bench, senior advocate Dushyant Dave said “there is something serious that requires the top court`s immediate intervention.”
"Completely unauthorised and unconstitutional demolition has been ordered in the Jahangirpuri area...with no notice to anybody," he said. Later, again in the day, Dave mentioned the matter, saying despite the top court`s order, the Municipal Corporation has not stopped the demolition drive.
The Chief Justice then asked the registry to communicate the court`s status quo order on the demolition drive to the respondents in the matter -- NDMC Commissioner, Mayor, and Delhi Police Commissioner -- mentioned by Dave.