Former SC, HC Judges See ‘Unacceptable Subversion of the Rule of Law’ in UP

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Former Supreme Court and high court judges and senior lawyers wrote to the Chief Justice of India urging him to take suo moto cognizance of the police torture, illegal detention, and demolition of houses carried out by the Uttar Pradesh government following the protests

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – Three retired Supreme Court judges, three former high court judges and senior lawyers, on Tuesday, wrote to Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana urging him to take suo moto cognizance of the police torture, illegal detention and demolition of houses carried out by the Uttar Pradesh government following the protests against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders’ derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad.

A statement of the members of the legal fraternity read: “The UP Police have arrested more than 300 persons and registered FIRs against protesting citizens. Videos of young men in police custody being beaten with lathis, houses of protesters being demolished without notice or any cause of action, and protestors from the minority Muslim community being chased and beaten by the police are circulating on social media, shaking the conscience of the nation.”

The statement was signed by former Supreme Court judges Justices, B. Sudarshan Reddy, V.Gopala Gowda, AK Ganguly and retired high court judges, Justices AP Shah, K Chandru, Mohammed Anwar.

In the statement, the former judges described the action taken by the Yogi Adityanath Government as “brutal clampdown by a ruling administration” and “unacceptable subversion of the rule of law and a violation of the rights of citizens and “a mockery of the Constitution and fundamental rights guaranteed by the State”.

With regard to the demolition of the houses, the statement noted “The coordinated manner in which the police and development authorities have acted lead to the clear conclusion that demolitions are a form of collective extra-judicial punishment, attributable to a state policy which is illegal”.

On Sunday, the administration in Prayagraj razed the house of a student activist, Afreen Fatima, claiming that his father Javed Muhammed was the mastermind of the protest in the city on a plea that the house was illegal. Family members of Javed rejected all these allegations. The action of the administration has drawn massive outrage.

Former Allahabad High Court chief justice Govind Mathur had earlier called the demolition of the house “illegal”.
In the letter, the former judges ascribe the action taken by the state government to Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath citing his statements in this regard.

“The mettle of the judiciary is tested in such critical times,” they said in the statement urging the Supreme Court “to take immediate suo motu action to arrest the deteriorating law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh, specifically involving the high-handedness of the police and state authorities, and a brutal clampdown on the fundamental rights of citizens.”

“We hope and trust the Supreme Court will rise to the occasion and not let the citizens and the Constitution down at this critical juncture,” they said.

Reacting to it, AIMMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi hoped that the petition letter written by former judges is considered with seriousness.
“Fundamental rights are meant to protect real people in real life. If Indians resign themselves to the fact that their rights & liberties are only on paper; what meaningful progress will India make,” said Owaisi.

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