Supreme Court refuses to entertain plea against demolition drive in Shaheen Bagh

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain the Communist Party of India (Marxist) plea against the demolition of buildings in South Delhi including the Shaheen Bagh area.

A bench of justice L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai asked why the CPI (M) is filing this petition.

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Thereafter petitioner sought to withdraw the petition and urged the court to grant liberty to the petitioner to approach the concerned High Court with his grievances.

The Supreme Court granted liberty to the petitioner to approach High Court with his grievance and “dismissed the petition as withdrawn.”

Senior Advocate PV Surendranath, appearing for the petitioner, tried to convince the top Court and said that it is in the public interest and not the party`s interest. But the Court said that it cannot interfere in the matter at the behest of a political party as this is not the platform.

SC said that if someone is aggrieved, they must come before it. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that facts are being misrepresented as this is a process which has been going on for a long, routine exercise after serving notice.

The SC also remarked that it is not seized of all encroachment matters and while hearing matters relating to the Jahangirpuri issue, it had clarified that it can`t pass orders against all encroachments.

“We have to strike a balance,” the top Court said. Solicitor General also apprised the Court that the authorities concerned are following the Delhi HC order itself.

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The court also said that it has not given license to anybody to come here to say their house cannot be demolished even if it is unauthorized.

“You cannot take shelter of that order,” the Court said. Communist Party of India (Marxist) has moved Supreme Court against the demolition of buildings of the people of South Delhi stating that it is a total violation of principles of natural justice, statutes and the constitution under the guise of an encroachment removal programme.

Delhi State Committee of Communist Party of India (Marxist) represented by its Secretary, has moved a petition in Supreme Court alleging that the South Delhi Municipal Corporation`s (SDMC) action is highly illegal and inhumane action of demolishing buildings of the people of South Delhi area.

The petition moved through advocate Biju P. Raman, said that it is in total violation of principles of natural justice, statutes and the constitution under the guise of an encroachment removal programme.

“They are not unauthorized occupants or encroachers as alleged by the Respondents. Now it has come to the notice of the petitioner that the office of the Assistant Commissioner of Respondent No.1 (SDMC) has issued a letter dated nil for providing necessary police force including lady police to the MCD staff to maintain law and order during the encroachment removal action,” the petitioner said.”

Without giving a proper show cause notice and giving breathing time to people residing or working in different areas of South Delhi the Respondents proposed to start demolition of buildings denying their precious constitutional rights and right to life,” the petition said.

According to the petition, the authorities have not issued statutory notice to owners/occupants of the buildings to show cause why the buildings should not be demolished but no notice is issued to them as to how encroachment is made by the occupants/owners of the buildings.

The petitioner said that the entire action is absolutely and manifestly arbitrary and in violation of Articles 14, 19 and 21. If this is permitted their only shelter and buildings for their livelihood will be demolished in utter disregard to statutes and the Constitution as the people residing and working in the notified area are generally very poor and marginalized and are incapable of resisting the illegal inhumane action of the Respondents SDMC and others, the petition claimed.

The petitioner also highlighted that on May 4 the authorities demolished buildings with bulldozers in the Sangam Vihar area. “They have illegally demolished buildings of the poor people with bulldozers illegally and caused severe trauma and loss to the people,” the petition said.

But the authorities did not undertake the demolition drive in Kalindi Kunj as per schedule as there was no sufficient police force and now it is reliably understood that there would be demolition of buildings in Shaheen Bagh and other areas from May 9 to 13, 2022, the petitioner claimed.

“It is most respectfully submitted that the political executive of Respondent Municipal Corporation is maliciously indulging in a political game plan. The entire action of the Respondent is absolutely and manifestly arbitrary and without following any due process of law,” the petition said.

Hence, the petitioner has urged the Supreme Court to quash and set aside notification of SDMC relating to the encroachment removal actions program and direct the SDMC not to proceed with any action pursuant to and in furtherance of that notification relating to the encroachment removal actions program.

The petition also sought to grant adequate compensation to the victims of the illegal demolition undertaken by the civic bodies. One similar petition has also been moved by Delhi Pradesh Rehri Patri Khomcha Hawkers Union against demolition drive in South Delhi.

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