The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a plea seeking to quash the North Delhi Municipal Corporation’s notification on Jahangirpuri demolitions, the Live Law reported.
A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and AS Bopanna was hearing a petition filed by the advocates. The bench asked why advocates and not residents affected by the demolitions in Jahangirpuri had filed the plea.
“What is this, advocates filing [a plea],” the bench said, Live Law reported. “We said earlier we will not entertain political parties. Then why should we entertain advocates?”
On Monday, the Supreme Court had refused to hear a plea filed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) seeking to stop a demolition drive in South Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh area. A Supreme Court bench had directed the party to approach a High Court instead.
On Friday, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioners, told the court that the residents affected by the Jahangirpuri demolitions belong to the weaker sections of society, Live Law reported. Thus, the advocates had filed the plea instead, Bhushan said.
“This is a classic case that where the victims are so poor and weak, they are being pressurised [by the authorities],” Bhushan submitted.
The residents, whose structures were demolished, have to be compensated, the advocate said.
The petition stated that the Jahangirpuri demolitions were undertaken by the civic body by defying Section 343 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957. It pertains to issuing show-cause notices to owners before demolishing their constructions.
“The encroachment removal drive is a ruse, and is motivated by malafide and extraneous consideration and is a colourable exercise of power, besides being blatantly arbitrary,” the petition alleged.
It also stated that the drive was carried out “mysteriously after the communal clash” in the Jahangirpuri area.
On April 20, the Bharatiya Janata Party ruled-North Delhi Municipal Corporation bulldozed shops and homes, mostly owned by Muslims, in the city’s Jahangirpuri area. The demolitions continued for over an hour after the Supreme Court ordered a stay on them.
The demolition drive was undertaken after Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta wrote to North Delhi Municipal Corporation commissioner, asking him to raze the illegal constructions of the “rioters’’ in the Jahangirpuri area.
Several homes were razed just four days after the locality was hit by communal violence. Eight policemen and a civilian were injured after a clash between members of Hindu and Muslim communities during a Hanuman Jayanti procession.