On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ordered a status-quo on the demolition drive undertaken by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri area. A bench led by the Chief Justice of India issued the order after senior advocates Dushyant Dave, Kapil Sibal, PV Surendranath, and Prashant Bhushan mentioned the matter.
On April 16, violence broke out in the Jahangirpuri area after clash between two communities during a Hanuman Jayanti procession. Nine people, including eight Delhi police personnel, were injured in the clashes. Delhi Police has arrested 23 people so far, including two juveniles, in connection with the incident.
Since Wednesday morning, heavy police deployment was seen in the area ahead of the demolition drive. The NDMC had urged the Delhi Police to provide at least 400 personnel ‘including lady police/outer force for maintaining law and order during the encroachment removal action’. The ‘demolition drive’ comes after a letter by Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta, who wrote to the NDMC mayor to demolish ‘illegal’ constructions in Jahangirpuri.
The matter was immediately taken up in the Delhi High Court. The lawyer mentioned the matter and sought to stop the demolition drive in Jahangirpuri. He stated that residents were not given prior intimation, and several of them were not even at their homes. They urged that the demolition drive be stopped till 2 pm. The Delhi High Court agreed to hear pleas against the ‘anti-encroachment’ drive, But shortly before the High Court agreed to hear the plea, the apex court ordered a temporary halt.
“We order status quo. Let the matter be taken up tomorrow, Thursday, and the other matter,” Chief Justice of India N V Ramana said. Although even after the order, the demolition drive continued. Senior advocate Dave mentioned the matter again to complain that the demolition drive hasn’t stopped. CJI then asked the Supreme Court registry to communicate the stay order to North MCD Mayor, Commissioner and Delhi Police Commissioner.
Raja Iqbal Singh, the Mayor of North Delhi Municipal Corporation, reportedly stated that the demolition drive has stopped after the Supreme Court order. NDMC will follow the Supreme Court order & take action accordingly; he said adding that the removal of illegal encroachment is a “routine exercise and such.”