The Supreme Court today sent a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government seeking explanation on a plea for quashing notices sent to the anti-CAA rioters by the district administration for recovery of damages caused to public property during the riots against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which had gripped the state last month.
A bench comprising Justice D Y Chandrachud and KM Joseph issued the notice to the Yogi-led state government and directed it to file its response within four weeks.
The apex court was hearing a plea which alleged that notices have been sent by the Uttar Pradesh government in an “arbitrary manner”, citing instances where people above 90 years of age had allegedly received notices. Advocate Parwaiz Arif Titu, a petitioner in the case, sought a stay on these notices claiming that they were sent in a disorganized manner to people who have not been booked under any criminal provisions or have no FIR’s registered in their names.
Advocate Nilofar Khan, who filed the petition in the apex court against the Yogi government argued that the notices slapped on the protestors were based on an Allahabad High Court verdict delivered in 2010. This was “is in violation of the guidelines” passed by the apex court in a 2009 judgment which was later re-affirmed in a 2018 verdict, affirmed Khan.
The plea has also sought setting up of an independent judicial inquiry to probe into the incidents which happened during the protests against CAA and NRC in Uttar Pradesh, as has been done by the Karnataka High Court.
The plea has claimed that even before any demonstrations, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh had declared that there was no reason for anyone to protest against the CAA. The SC has given the UP government four-weeks time to file its response.
It is pertinent to note here that Uttar Pradesh was one of the worst-hit by the anti-CAA riots in which Muslim mobs ran amok damaging public property and injuring police personnel and innocent civilians. During the clashes, several minors were seen throwing stones at the policemen and vandalizing properties.
Uttar Pradesh police had released several videos and pictures which busts the myth that anti-CAA protests were inherently peaceful and spontaneous. These videos show how rioters have been attacking police personnel, resorting to vandalism, arson and rioting, damaging the public property and injuring public as well as the police officials.
Condemning the violence and protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in parts of Uttar Pradesh and parts of the country, Yogi Adityanath had said people cannot indulge in violence in the “name of protests”. The UP CM had assured that strict actions will be taken against hoodlums who have been trying to create unrest in his state and various parts of the country.
The Rampur Police were the first to issue notices to as many as 28 locals across Rampur district, holding them responsible for acts of violence and causing damage to government property. The police had sought an explanation as to why recoveries should not be made for damage worth Rs 14.86 lakh.
The notice cited damage to the government properties to the tune of Rs 14,86,500. It listed, among others, a police jeep of Bhot police station (Rs 750,000), motorcycle of a sub-inspector (Rs 65,000), motorcycle of City Kotwali police station (Rs 90,000), wireless set, hooter/loudspeaker, 10 sticks, three helmets, and three body protectors.