Ex-judges, sr lawyers move Supreme court against UP Govt’s ”bulldozer” action

New Delhi: Several prominent retired judged and senior Supreme Court advocates today moved the apex court against the illegal detention of protestors and bulldozing of their houses in Utta Pradesh, urging it to take suo motu cognizance of these acts of the state government.

A letter petition filed by Justice B. Sudarshan Reddy, Justice A.K. Ganguly, Justice AP Shah, and lawyers Indira Jaisingh, Prashant Bhushan and Ananad Grover among said that the recent incidents of violence and repression by state authorities on citizens in Uttar Pradesh following the remarks made by certain BJP spokespersons (since suspended from office) on the Prophet Mohammed have resulted in protests in multiple parts of the country, and particularly in UP. But instead of giving protestors an opportunity of being heard and engaging in peaceful protests, the UP state administration appears to have sanctioned
taking violent action against such individuals.

The Chief Minister has reportedly officially exhorted officials “to take such action against those guilty that it sets an example so that no one commits a crime or takes law into their hands in 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. It is these
remarks that have emboldened the police to brutally and unlawfully torture protestors, the petition said.

Moreover, they pointed out that UP police have arrested more than 300 persons and registered FIRs against protesting citizens. Videos of young men in police custody being beaten with lathis, houses of
protestors being demolished without notice or any cause of action, and protestors from the
minority Muslim community being chased and beaten by the police, are circulating on social
media, shaking the conscience of the nation.

”Such a brutal clampdown by a ruling administration is an unacceptable subversion of the rule of law and a violation of the rights of citizens, and makes a mockery of the Constitution and fundamental rights guaranteed by the State. The coordinated manner in which the police and development authorities have acted lead to the clear conclusion that demolitions are a form of collective extra judicial punishment, attributable to a state policy which is illegal,” the judges and lawyers said

”The mettle of the judiciary is tested in such critical times. On many occasions, including in the
recent past, the judiciary has faced such challenges and emerged with distinction as the custodian
of the rights of the people. Some recent examples are the suo motu actions taken by the Supreme
Court in the migrant workers matter and in the Pegasus matter. In the same spirit, and in its role
as custodian of the Constitution, we therefore urge the Hon’ble Supreme Court to take immediate
suo motu action to arrest the deteriorating law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh, specifically
involving the high-handedness of the police and state authorities, and the brutal clampdown on
the fundamental rights of citizens. We hope and trust the Supreme Court will rise to the occasion
and not let the citizens and the Constitution down at this critical juncture,” the petition said.

Others who have signed the petition are: Justice V. Gopala Gowd, Justice K Chandru
Justice Mohammed Anwar and senior advocate Chander Uday Singh.

—INDIA NEWS STREAM

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