Transfer of Nuh Demolition Drive Case to Another HC Bench Raises Concerns

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The decision was compared to the sudden transfer of Justice Murlidhar from the Delhi High Court to another court when he ordered the filing of an FIR against Union Minister Anuragh Thakur, BJP MP Prveesh Verma and BJP leader Kapil Mishra for making provocative statements during the 2020 Delhi riots

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — Journalists, social activists and lawyers have raised serious concerns over the sudden transfer of the case regarding the demolition drive in Haryana’s Nuh district to another bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. 

Late Thursday, it was reported that a bench of Justices Arun Palli and Jagmohan Bansal is going to hear the demolition drive case instead of Justices G.S. Sandhawalia and Harpreet Kaur Jeevan, who had taken suo moto cognisance of the demolition drive. On Friday, the new bench observed that the matter should have been listed before the first-division bench as per the rules.

The previous bench had passed stringing observations over the demolition drive while directing it to be halted immediately.

“Apparently, without any demolition orders and notices, the law and order problem is being used as a ruse to bring down buildings without following the procedure established by law. The issue also arises whether the buildings belonging to a particular community are being brought down under the guise of law and order problem and an exercise of ethnic cleansing is being conducted by the State,” the previous bench had said.

Reacting to these observations, the Additional Advocate General Deepak Sabherwal told Justices Palli and Bansal on Friday that it was not a case of ethnic cleansing and that proper procedure as prescribed under the law had been followed.

However, the sudden transfer of the case to another bench has raised many eyebrows. The decision was compared to the sudden transfer of Justice Murlidhar from the Delhi High Court to another court when he ordered the filing of an FIR against Union Minister Anuragh Thakur, BJP MP Prveesh Verma and BJP leader Kapil Mishra for making provocative statements during the 2020 Delhi riots.

Advocate Manoj said that the decision constitutes an unprecedented interference in the functioning of the high court.

“The Master of Roster appears to have disturbed the process of establishing the Rule of Law by an irregular & questionable change in assignment. Unprecedented interference in the functioning of the P&H High Court,” he tweeted.

Journalist S.R. Praveen said: “The Saffron Bulldozer raj won’t allow any upright judge to do what they are supposed to do. Just as quick as they shifted out Justice Muralidhar who made a crucial intervention during the Delhi riots, here they change the judges who called out the attempt at ethnic cleansing”.

Journalist Maya Mirchandani said that the judges were changed just because their observations were not in terms of the government’s actions.

“Don’t like observations from the judges? Change the court. This comes after the court originally hearing the case had raised questions of ethnic cleansing in #Nuh and #Gurgaon,” she tweeted.  

Woman activist Natasha Narwal said: “They just change benches, transfer judges overnight if anyone dares to question them, but the judiciary is completely independent. Please stop maligning our govt’s image, you anti-nationals!”.

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