Bulldozers rolled into Shaheen Bagh in the presence of heavy police personnel on Monday (Photo: AP)
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to intervene in the Shaheen Bagh anti-encroachment drive, hours after bulldozers rolled in and out of the Delhi neighborhood amid protests by hundreds of locals.
Addressing the petitioners’ counsel, the bench questioned why a political party had approached the Supreme Court and not the residents or shopkeepers directly affected by the BJP-ruled South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s demolition drive.
“What is this CPI(M) party filing this case? We can understand if the affected person came here. What fundamental right of a party that is violated? Is there no individual who is affected?” the bench asked.
When senior advocate P Surendranath, appearing for the petitioners, told the court that the Hawkers Union was also a plaintiff, the court stated that hawkers can be removed if they are found violating the rules.
“Hawkers are persons who sell on the roads. In Jahangirpuri, we had to intervene because there was demolition of buildings. How are hawkers affected? Hawkers are those who sit on platforms. The residents or shopkeepers should come,” the bench reiterated.
The top court also pulled up the civic body, demanding why it doesn’t undertake anti-encroachment exercises without prior notice and in accordance with the law.
“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? We are telling you don’t demolish any structures without notice,” the court said.
Refusing to entertain the petitions, it then directed the affected parties to approach the Delhi High Court.
Supreme Court refuses to intervene in #ShaheenBagh demolition drive; don’t make court platform for politics.@Sreya_Chattrjee, @nabilajamal_, @tejshreethought, @AneeshaMathur pic.twitter.com/F5P7BS0cQv
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) May 9, 2022
WHAT IS THE CASE?
Last week, the CPI(M)’s Delhi unit and Hawkers Union moved the Supreme Court against the south Delhi civic body’s demolition drive, terming it a “violation of principles of natural justice, statutes and the Constitution” under the guise of an anti -encroachment drive.
They pleaded that they were not unauthorized occupants or encroachers as alleged by the respondents — the South Delhi Municipal Corporation and others.
Calling the action “absolutely and manifestly arbitrary”, the petition claimed that without giving proper show-cause notice and giving breathing time to the people residing and working in different areas of south Delhi, the respondents proposed to start demolition.
READ | HC directs Delhi Police, NrDMC to remove unauthorized hawkers from Chandni Chowk
WHAT HAPPENED IN SHAHEEN BAGH?
Bulldozers reached Shaheen Bagh on Monday as the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) pushed ahead with its anti-encroachment drive in the locality that was the epicenter of the anti-CAA stir a few years ago.
However, following dharna and sloganeering by residents and activists from the Aam Aadmi Party and Congress, the SDMC officials part of the demolition drive returned with bulldozers without conducting the exercise.