NDMC defends Jahangirpuri demolition drive, says allegation of targeting particular religion is ‘false’

NDMC also said that concerned authorities have taken the exercise undertaken on 20.4.2022 was in compliance with the directions issued by the High Court of Delhi

New Delhi: The North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) on Monday informed the Supreme Court that the allegation which says the demolition drive in the Jahangirpuri area was selectively targeting a particular religion was ‘false’ and defended its decision.

NDMC, in an affidavit filed in response to Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind’s plea against the demolition drive in Jahangirpuri, said that the petitioner has unfortunately projected a completely false picture with a view to create prejudice and to achieve some other objectives.

NDMC said the petitioner has given misrepresentation before this Court relating to the respondent Corporation demolishing the properties without notice, and this was done selectively targeting a particular religion.

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“The petition deserves to be dismissed only on the ground that the petitioner has while invoking the equity jurisdiction of this Hon’ble Court, resorted to falsehood and has, unfortunately, attempted to sensationalize a routine administrative exercise by giving it an unwarranted communal colour,” said the NDMC.

NDMC also said that concerned authorities have taken the exercise undertaken on 20.4.2022 was in compliance with the directions issued by the High Court of Delhi as the Courts have time and again issued orders to the Municipal Authorities to clear the right of ways and the footpaths from the encroachments.

“It clearly appears that it is for this reason that the petitioner has lent its name suppressing the above-referred facts and has attempted to communally sensationalize an otherwise routine administrative exercise which was being undertaken under the orders of the High Court of Delhi and not targeting any religion or community,” NDMC said.

It further added, “The above-referred facts and the list will also show that the petitioner chose to refer to any particular religion or community but the law-enforcing authorities while exercising their powers under section 322 of the Act exercised their powers based only on the illegality being dealt with irrespective of the religion.”

It also demanded to take a serious view of an organisation filing such litigation without any locus standi.

On the issue of demolition continued after the school’s status quo, NDMC said that as soon as the Legal Consultant verified this fact and informed me about the status-quo order and the corporation stop the ongoing process was immediately stopped.

“It was, however, found prudent to remove the debris lying on the road so as to ensure that there was no hindrance to the traffic movement and that the bricks and other things lying may not be used for any other unlawful purposes. That process of removal of above hindrances continued some time,” NDMC said.

The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the matter for July for further hearing. Earlier, the Supreme Court had extended the status quo on the demolition drive carried out by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation in the national capital’s Jahangirpuri area.

Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the petitioner, had argued that a particular section of the society is being targeted through the demolition drive.

He had also raised questions on how can a BJP leader write a letter regarding demolishing such encroachments and the NDMC demolished it.

One petitioner, Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind moved the Supreme Court against employing bulldozers to raze down the houses of persons suspected to be involved in criminal incidents such as violence.

Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind has urged the Supreme Court to issue appropriate direction to the Centre and state governments that no lasting precipitative action be taken against any accused in any criminal proceedings and issue directions that residential accommodation cannot be demolished as a punitive measure.

In its petition, Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind said that there has recently been an increase in the incidents of demolition of residential and commercial properties by government administration in several states as a punitive measure towards persons purportedly involved in criminal incidents such as riots.

“In response to alleged acts of violence, the administration in several states has been employing bulldozers to raze down the houses of persons suspected to be involved in such incidents. A number of ministers and legislators, including the Chief Minister and the Home Minister of the state of Madhya Pradesh, have made statements advocating such acts and especially threatened the minority groups with the destruction of their homes and commercial properties in case of riots,” the petition read.

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