Senior advocate Dushyant Dave questioned how can a BJP leader write a letter to the NDMC that they should demolish, and they carry out the demolition drive.
NEW DELHI — Senior advocate Dushyant Dave while arguing against demolition of properties in Jahangirpuri Delhi in Supreme Court said that if the government was really committed to removing encroachments then first the government should go after illegal structures in tony areas like Sainik Farms and Golf Links.
“These are poor people… If you want to remove encroachments, go to south Delhi, go to Sainik farms. Come to Golf Links, where I stay and every second home is an encroachment somewhere, but you don’t touch it at all.”
Dave said the homes and shops demolished in Jahangirpuri were more than 30 years old, and “we are in a democracy…how can this be allowed”.
He said the demolitions were discriminatory in nature at it targeted only one community, referring to Muslims.
Seconding Dave, Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, submitted that encroachments are a serious problem all over India, but the issue is Muslims are being associated with encroachments.
When Dave mentioned that the matter is of national importance the bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai asked Dave, “what is the national importance in this matter… it is about an area?”
Dave, representing the Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, explained that bulldozers are being used as an instrument of state policy, and a particular section of the society is being targeted.
Lambasting the authorities he said the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) knew that the matter would be mentioned in the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning, that is why they began demolition at 9 a.m.
He also questioned how can a BJP leader write a letter to the NDMC that they should demolish, and they carry out the demolition drive.
Delhi Act has provision for notice and there is provision for appeals too, Dave underlined.
He added, “police and civil authorities are bound by the Constitution and not by letters written by a BJP leader… this is a sad scenario”.
Pointing to clashes which occurred on Ram Navami in various parts of the country, Sibal questioned the demolition drive carried out after these incidents took place.
He said incidents happened and houses were bulldozed, and somebody was charged with murder, his house was demolished, and one community was gated and their house was demolished in Delhi. Sibal said, “Is it to instill fear?”
At this juncture, Justice Nageswara Rao asked Sibal, what is the relief that he is claiming?
Sibal said encroachments have been limited to a particular community and asked the court to stay demolitions until further orders.
The bench replied: “We are not going to stay demolitions in the country”.
Sibal said he meant demolition in Jahangirpuri.
Senior advocate Sanjay Hedge, representing a juice shop owner whose shop was demolished in Jahangirpuri area, submitted that his client had all the papers, yet his shop was demolished and sought compensation for the illegal demolition.
A counsel appearing for CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat submitted that despite the court’s status quo order, the demolition drive was not stopped.
After a detailed hearing, the top court extended until further orders the status quo order against the demolition drive carried out by NDMC in the Jahangirpuri area, and scheduled the matter for further hearing after two weeks.
The top court issued notice on a batch of petitions against demolition drives carried out in Delhi and other parts of the country.
Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind has filed two petitions in the matter.
The top court also directed the petitioners to disclose on affidavit whether they were served notices before the demolition was carried out.
— With inputs from IANS