India

Demolitions of structures not related to rioting: UP to SC

Supreme Court

New Delhi, June 22: The Uttar Pradesh government has told the Supreme Court that demolitions of illegal structures were carried out by its Kanpur and Prayagraj municipal bodies as per law and were not related to punishing the accused involved in violent protests following remarks by two BJP leaders on Prophet Mohammed.
In an affidavit filed pursuant to pleas filed by a Muslim body Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, the state government said, the said demolitions referred to in the interlocutory applications have been carried out by the local development authority, which are statutory autonomous bodies, independent of the state administration, as per law as part of their routine effort against unauthorised/illegal constructions and encroachments, in accordance with the UP Urban Planning and Development Act, 1972.
It said that none of the actual affected parties, if any, have approached this court concerning the lawful demolition action. “It is humbly submitted that in so far as taking action against the persons accused in rioting, the state government is taking stringent steps against them in accordance with a completely different set of statutes namely–CrPC, UP gangster, and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986 and Rules, 2021, Prevention of Public Property Damages Act and Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Act, 2020 and Rules, 2021, it said.
It pointed out that the factum of construction being illegal has also been admitted by the two builders in Kanpur. It pointed out that the top court in a recent writ petition filed by a political party concerning the alleged demolitions in Shaheen Bagh, noted that only the affected party and not political parties should come forward and allowed withdrawal of the petition with liberty to approach the High Court.
Furthermore, it is submitted that even if any such alleged demolition action is to be challenged, the same is to be done by the affected party before the High Court, and not this court, the state government said, adding that it is taking strong exception to the attempt by the petitioners to name the highest constitutional functionaries of the State and falsely colour the local development authority’s lawful actions as extra-legal punitive measures against accused persons, targeting any particular religious community.
It said that all such allegations are absolutely false and are vehemently denied and urged the court to hold the petitioner to terms for the said false allegations without basis before this court.
The UP government further said that the petitioner has cherry-picked two demolition actions of illegal constructions in the properties of one Ishtiaq Ahmad and one Riyaz Ahmed that took place in Kanpur on June 11, 2022, in an attempt to falsely link the same to the rioting; however, it has failed to note that in both cases, certain portions of the two illegal/non-compliant structures in question took place; that both buildings were under construction and not in conformity with the permission granted.
It said that most importantly, proceedings under the Urban Planning Act against the two buildings had been initiated by the Kanpur development authority long before the incidents of rioting that took place in June 2022 – in one case way back in August 2020 itself, while in the other, in February 2022. (PTI)

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