On Shaheen Bagh Demolition, Supreme Court’s Strong Rebuke For CPI(M)

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The Supreme Court today refused to accept the CPM’s plea against demolitions in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh and other areas, strongly objecting to a “political party approaching the court”.
Asking the CPM to withdraw its petition and approach the High Court, the Supreme Court said it would have stepped in if the “aggrieved party had come”.

“Please impose a stay (on the demolition) for at least two days,” the CPM urged.

“Not at your behest,” the Supreme Court snapped.

“We are there to protect livelihoods but not like this,” added the judges.

A furious court told the CPM, “Either you withdraw or we dismiss your plea.”

The court said: “You do not even go to the High Court. You come straight to the Supreme Court. What is this? A political party coming here and telling us what to do.”

Everyone couldn’t be given a licence to approach the Supreme Court if their house was being demolished, even it it’s illegal, said the judges.

“If there is a violation of law, we will intervene. Not because of anticipation at the behest of political parties like this. Do not file petitions like this. You spent all day here. You could have gone to the High Court if the action was not in accordance with law,” the Supreme Court said.

The BJP-headed South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), which has launched what it calls an anti-encroachment drive in Shaheen Bagh, the heart of anti-citizenship law protests, told the court that “no structure was being demolished”.

The anti-encroachment drive was halted at Shaheen Bagh when traders and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Amanatullah Khan assured that illegal structures would be removed.

As soon as the drive started amid heavy police presence, residents gathered to protest and Congress workers sat in front of bulldozers. Soon, AAP’s Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan said he had got all illegal structures removed already and none were left. “There are no illegal structures here. They have brought the bulldozer and put it here to show that I am obstructing their work to remove encroachment,” Mr Khan told NDTV.

When petitioners accused the civic body of bringing in the bulldozers without notice, it told the court “only encroachments are being removed, no structures are being demolished” and that “no notice was needed for routine encroachments”.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the civic body, told the court that what was to be done “has already been done”. The encroachments, he said, had been removed voluntarily now.

“In Jahangirpuri they painted a picture that one community is being targeted,” Mr Mehta alleged, denying that anyone was targeting in the area where communal clashes broke out during a Hanuman Jayanti procession.

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