Experts differ over legality of bulldozer action


New Delhi : With the Uttar Pradesh government once again starting demolition action against alleged rioters, the legality of the instant bulldozer action seems complex and full of intricacies even as experts differ on the issue.

“Everybody is asking whether the rules were followed by the authorities during the demolition drives. There are Supreme Court judgments which say that to remove any illegal construction, the authorities are not bound to give time to the encroacher. The authorities can remove it straight away. As per these apex court verdicts, the Uttar Pradesh government can remove illegal constructions,” Delhi-based advocate Vineet Jindal told IANS.

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Removal of encroachments and demolition without serving notice are different issues, said advocate Robin Raju, emphasising that the issue could be handled more humanely.

He also pointed out the judges who moved the Supreme Court on Tuesday against the bulldozing of homes.

A group of former Supreme Court and high court judges along with senior advocates on Tuesday wrote to the Chief Justice of India, N.V. Ramana, urging him to take suo motu cognisance of the recent demolition drives.

“The Chief Minister (Yogi Adityanath) has reportedly officially exhorted officials ‘to take such action against those guilty to set an example so that no one commits a crime or takes the law into their hands in the future’.

“He has further directed that the National Security Act, 1980, and the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986, be invoked against those found guilty of unlawful protests. These remarks have emboldened the police to brutally and unlawfully torture the protesters,” the letter read.

Incidents of violence and slogan-shouting were reported from Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj and Saharanpur after the Friday prayers on June 10 when people began protesting against former BJP spokespersons’ remarks on the Prophet Muhammad.

On Sunday, bulldozers, now a symbol of Yogi Adityanath’s crackdown on anti-social elements, reached the residence of Mohammad Javed a.k.a. Javed Pump, who was identified as the main conspirator behind the violence that erupted in the city on June 10.