Shaheen Bagh demolition drive: Supreme Court refuses to intervene
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to intervene in the Shaheen Bagh demolition drive and asked affected parties to approach the Delhi High Court. "We have never given the right to anyone to come...and say my house is being demolished even if it is an illegal construction," it noted. The court also said it doesn't want "petitions on the behest of political parties."
- The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) on Monday launched an "anti-demolition" in the Shaheen Bagh neighborhood of South Delhi, prompting residents to stage a protest.
- This comes in the backdrop of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) bulldozing alleged illegal structures in the Jahangirpuri area last month.
- The NDMC's actions were criticized and the demolition stopped hours after the Supreme Court order.
The court also demanded to know why the case against the demolition was filed by the CPI(M) and hawkers and not the affected parties. It also rapped the SDMC for conducting the drive without prior notice. "We are not interfering but when you undertake these activities why don't you do it as per law? Why don't you issue notice to them?" the court asked.
Earlier, Rajpal Singh, the BJP councilor and the SDMC's central zone standing committee chief, had stated that the municipality will do its job and encroachments will be eliminated. "Our workers and officials are ready. Teams and bulldozers have been organized. Encroachments will be removed wherever they are, be it in Tughlakabad, Sangam Vihar, New Friends Colony, or Shaheen Bagh," he had told ANI.
The SDMC has reportedly devised a 10-day plan intended to eliminate encroachments from a few areas, including Shaheen Bagh. Last month, the NDMC had faced harsh criticism from a few social rights organizations and opposition parties after it demolished structures in the Jahangirpuri area. The anti-encroachment drive in Jahangirpuri was, however, halted following the Supreme Court's intervention.
To recall, the matter concerning the SDMC's anti-encroachment drive had reached Supreme Court after the CPI(M)'s Delhi unit and Hawkers Union petitioned the court on Saturday against the civic body. The plea also termed the drive a "violation of principles of natural justice, statutes, and the Constitution." The petitioners argued they were neither unlawful occupiers nor encroachers, as the respondents—the SDMC and others—claimed.
To recall, SDMC Mayor Mukesh Suryan last month said that the civic body had started a month-long demolition campaign to remove unlawful constructions from government property, roads, and walkways. Okhla, Madanpur Khadar, Sarita Vihar, Jaitpur, Lajpat Nagar, Badarpur, Greater Kailash, Dwarka, Vasant Kunj, Vikas Puri, and Shaheen Bagh would be among the areas targeted for demolition, according to him.
Meanwhile, AAP's Okhla MLA, Amanatullah Khan, reached Shaheen Bagh amid uproar over the SDMC's demolition plans. He said the action was being undertaken to "deliberately disturb law and order." "It is a CPWD [Central Public Works Department] road. MCD [Municipal Corporation of Delhi] has nothing to do with it. People have left space in front of their roads," Wazib, a councilor, told India Today.
Notably, Shaheen Bagh was earlier in the news for its peaceful resistance against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). The protest—mostly led by the area's Muslim women—lasted from December 15, 2019, to March 24, 2020. It had set the tone for similar non-violent anti-CAA protests nationwide.