Krishna Janmabhoomi: Supreme Court Disposes Petition Against Demolition Drive In Mathura

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The Supreme Court on Monday disposed of a plea related to the demolition drive to clear alleged illegal constructions near Krishna Janmabhoomi in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura, and granted liberty to the petitioner to seek relief before the civil court.
Noting that suits instituted by the occupants or residents of the land are pending before the jurisdictional civil court, the top court asked the petitioner to apply for relief there.

“The relief claimed in this petition, in our opinion, is better examined in a suit. As proceedings are pending, we dispose of this writ petition, giving liberty to the petitioner to apply for relief before the suit court,” a bench headed by Justice Aniruddha Bose said.

The bench also refused to extend the status quo which it had granted on August 16, when the top court had halted for 10 days the demolition drive being carried out by the railways to clear the land of alleged illegal constructions.

The bench, also comprising Justices Sanjay Kumar and SVN Bhatti, was hearing a plea filed by Mathura resident Yakub Shah.

The bench asked the petitioner’s counsel what relief can be given in a petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution when suits are pending before the civil court.

Article 32 of the Constitution empowers Indian citizens to approach the top court directly for enforcement of their fundamental rights.
The petitioner’s counsel argued that the authorities conducted the demolition exercise on a day when the courts in Uttar Pradesh were closed and 100 houses were already demolished.

“You have full remedy before the suit court,” the bench said, adding it cannot run parallel proceedings.

When the petitioner’s counsel requested the court for extending the status quo, the bench said, “We had granted you 10 days protection, why didn’t you move the (civil) court?” “We are not extending the status quo,” it said.

The top court clarified it has not made any comments on the merits of the matter and all points are left open to be determined by the civil court.
While hearing the matter on August 16, the apex court had said, “Let there be an order of status quo as regards the subject premises for a period of 10 days from today. List after one week.” On August 25, the matter again came up for hearing before the top court which refused further extension of the interim order.

“List on August 28. In the meantime, rejoinder, if any, be filed by the petitioner. No further extension of the interim order,” the bench had said.

On August 16, the petitioner’s counsel had told the apex court that 100 houses have been bulldozed.

“There are 70-80 houses left. Whole thing will become infructuous. They conducted the exercise on a day when Uttar Pradesh courts were closed,” he had argued.

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