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Jahangirpuri demolition drive: Do Supreme Court orders mean nothing to the BJP ruled Municipal Corporation?

Demolition drive stopped hours after SC orders to maintain status quo in Jahangirpuri

Sabrangindia 20 Apr 2022

JahangirpuriImage: PTI
 

In the aftermath of the violence ensued from the procession of Hanuman Jayanti on Saturday and again on Monday, the BJP headed civic body, North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) wrote to the police on Tuesday seeking 400 police personnel including women police officials to maintain law and order as municipal authorities carried out a demolition drive against “encroachers”at the spot over the next two days.

The bulldozers arrived in Jahangirpuri at 10 A.M today and started demolishing the properties in the area where communal clashes broke out on Saturday during a Hanuman Jayanti procession.

When Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave mentioned the plea against demolition drives for urgent listing before the bench led by Chief Justice of India, N.V. Ramana, the Supreme Court ordered status quo on such demolitions. However, the demolition drive continued for hours despite the Court’s orders.

Refusing to stop the demolition without receiving the court orders ‘in hand’, the North Delhi Mayor, Raja Iqbal Singh told a news agency, “The anti-encroachment drive will be stopped as soon as we have received the Supreme Court order.”

The Supreme Court was made aware of the situation as Senior Advocate Dave requested to communicate the order to the Secretary General. Advocate Dave brought to the court’s attention that the demolition drive continued despite the court’s order being reported in the media immediately after.

A notice was issued by Advocate on Record, MR Shamshad, to the Mayor, State Government and Delhi Police, bringing to their attention the Supreme Court’s orders to quash the demolition notice and to restrain them from taking any further action. The letter requests compliance of the order and informs that the order shall be communicated as soon as it is made available.

The letter dated April 20, 2022 may be read here: 

AOR

Earlier today, the same issue was simultaneously mentioned in the Delhi High Court by Advocate Shahrukh Alam before the bench of ACJ Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla seeking protection against the demolition. Refusing to say anything on the stay of demolition, the Bench had asked Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, appearing for the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) to seek instructions on the issue. However, on pointing out that a similar plea was filed before the Supreme Court, the Bench refused to hear the matter.

NDTV reported that a wall and a gate of the mosque was razed and some shops nearby were pulled down while The Wire reported that Police locked up lanes of the area to keep people from gathering at demolition sites or trying to stop their properties from being torn down.

CPM leader Brinda Karat stood strong against state machinery and literal heavy demolition machinery as she was seen blocking a bulldozer and waving the copy of a Supreme Court order at the authorities. It is hard to believe that a Supreme Court order which is widely reported by the media was not given any regard by the civic bodies. This blatant disregard for the Supreme Court’s order is nothing but a violation of law under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

What is contempt of court?

As per Section 2(a) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, contempt of court can either be civil or criminal. “Civil contempt” is defined under Section 2(b) which means wilful disobedience to any judgment decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court or wilful breach of an undertaking given to court. Contempt of court may be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both, provided that the accused may be discharged or the punishment awarded may be remitted on apology being made to the satisfaction of the court.

Accepting without admitting that the demolitions were conducted on account of the constructions being illegal, what raises questions is the suspicious timing of the demolition programme undertaken by NDMC. As reported by The Wire, after the communal clash on Saturday, Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta had written to the BJP party-ruled NDMC to identify “illegal constructions of rioters” in Jahangirpuri and demolish them using bulldozers. A local Jahangirpuri told a news agency, “For the last 15 years, my shop has been here. No one raised the issue of illegality earlier, now after an incident of violence between two communities, this is happening.”

The residents of Jahangirpuri claimed that they did not receive any notice of the drive. Jamila, whose cart was among the first to be demolished by the bulldozer, told the Indian Express, “No notice was given to us. My husband and I have been running a cart here for two decades. Ye sab badle ke bhav se ho raha hai (This is being done with vengeance in mind).”

 

 

Similar illegal and arbitrary demolitions of the houses belonging to the accused in the communal violence erupted during the Ram Navami procession have recently taken place in the Anand district of Gujarat and Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh in an utter disregard for due process of law, statutory and constitutional protection.

The occasion of the birth of Hindu-God Ram marked as Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti happened to fall this year in the holy month of Ramzan. The pious occasion of Ramanavami was unfortunately marred with clashes, stone-pelting, trishul diksha, attacks on students and many other instances of violent communal confrontation across at least five Indian states including Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Clearly, the supremacist Hindutva groups who enjoy high level political patronage in these states seem to be on an aggressive path set to confrontative provocation.

Related:

Brinda Karat stands tall in front of bulldozers at Jahangirpuri’s Tiananmen square moment

SC orders status quo on demolitions in Jahangirpuri

Bulldozing the law and homes of the Muslim marginalized: Gujarat

Madhya Pradesh’s Home Minister blames Muslims for Ram Navami day violence, justifies mass demolitions

On whose orders did MP police demolish a Muslim daily wager’s home?

Communal confrontations mar Ram Navami celebrations in five states

Jahangirpuri demolition drive: Do Supreme Court orders mean nothing to the BJP ruled Municipal Corporation?

Demolition drive stopped hours after SC orders to maintain status quo in Jahangirpuri

JahangirpuriImage: PTI
 

In the aftermath of the violence ensued from the procession of Hanuman Jayanti on Saturday and again on Monday, the BJP headed civic body, North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) wrote to the police on Tuesday seeking 400 police personnel including women police officials to maintain law and order as municipal authorities carried out a demolition drive against “encroachers”at the spot over the next two days.

The bulldozers arrived in Jahangirpuri at 10 A.M today and started demolishing the properties in the area where communal clashes broke out on Saturday during a Hanuman Jayanti procession.

When Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave mentioned the plea against demolition drives for urgent listing before the bench led by Chief Justice of India, N.V. Ramana, the Supreme Court ordered status quo on such demolitions. However, the demolition drive continued for hours despite the Court’s orders.

Refusing to stop the demolition without receiving the court orders ‘in hand’, the North Delhi Mayor, Raja Iqbal Singh told a news agency, “The anti-encroachment drive will be stopped as soon as we have received the Supreme Court order.”

The Supreme Court was made aware of the situation as Senior Advocate Dave requested to communicate the order to the Secretary General. Advocate Dave brought to the court’s attention that the demolition drive continued despite the court’s order being reported in the media immediately after.

A notice was issued by Advocate on Record, MR Shamshad, to the Mayor, State Government and Delhi Police, bringing to their attention the Supreme Court’s orders to quash the demolition notice and to restrain them from taking any further action. The letter requests compliance of the order and informs that the order shall be communicated as soon as it is made available.

The letter dated April 20, 2022 may be read here: 

AOR

Earlier today, the same issue was simultaneously mentioned in the Delhi High Court by Advocate Shahrukh Alam before the bench of ACJ Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla seeking protection against the demolition. Refusing to say anything on the stay of demolition, the Bench had asked Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, appearing for the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) to seek instructions on the issue. However, on pointing out that a similar plea was filed before the Supreme Court, the Bench refused to hear the matter.

NDTV reported that a wall and a gate of the mosque was razed and some shops nearby were pulled down while The Wire reported that Police locked up lanes of the area to keep people from gathering at demolition sites or trying to stop their properties from being torn down.

CPM leader Brinda Karat stood strong against state machinery and literal heavy demolition machinery as she was seen blocking a bulldozer and waving the copy of a Supreme Court order at the authorities. It is hard to believe that a Supreme Court order which is widely reported by the media was not given any regard by the civic bodies. This blatant disregard for the Supreme Court’s order is nothing but a violation of law under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

What is contempt of court?

As per Section 2(a) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, contempt of court can either be civil or criminal. “Civil contempt” is defined under Section 2(b) which means wilful disobedience to any judgment decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court or wilful breach of an undertaking given to court. Contempt of court may be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both, provided that the accused may be discharged or the punishment awarded may be remitted on apology being made to the satisfaction of the court.

Accepting without admitting that the demolitions were conducted on account of the constructions being illegal, what raises questions is the suspicious timing of the demolition programme undertaken by NDMC. As reported by The Wire, after the communal clash on Saturday, Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta had written to the BJP party-ruled NDMC to identify “illegal constructions of rioters” in Jahangirpuri and demolish them using bulldozers. A local Jahangirpuri told a news agency, “For the last 15 years, my shop has been here. No one raised the issue of illegality earlier, now after an incident of violence between two communities, this is happening.”

The residents of Jahangirpuri claimed that they did not receive any notice of the drive. Jamila, whose cart was among the first to be demolished by the bulldozer, told the Indian Express, “No notice was given to us. My husband and I have been running a cart here for two decades. Ye sab badle ke bhav se ho raha hai (This is being done with vengeance in mind).”

 

 

Similar illegal and arbitrary demolitions of the houses belonging to the accused in the communal violence erupted during the Ram Navami procession have recently taken place in the Anand district of Gujarat and Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh in an utter disregard for due process of law, statutory and constitutional protection.

The occasion of the birth of Hindu-God Ram marked as Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti happened to fall this year in the holy month of Ramzan. The pious occasion of Ramanavami was unfortunately marred with clashes, stone-pelting, trishul diksha, attacks on students and many other instances of violent communal confrontation across at least five Indian states including Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Clearly, the supremacist Hindutva groups who enjoy high level political patronage in these states seem to be on an aggressive path set to confrontative provocation.

Related:

Brinda Karat stands tall in front of bulldozers at Jahangirpuri’s Tiananmen square moment

SC orders status quo on demolitions in Jahangirpuri

Bulldozing the law and homes of the Muslim marginalized: Gujarat

Madhya Pradesh’s Home Minister blames Muslims for Ram Navami day violence, justifies mass demolitions

On whose orders did MP police demolish a Muslim daily wager’s home?

Communal confrontations mar Ram Navami celebrations in five states

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