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Jamiat moves SC against razing of houses, shops of people accused of communal violence

The petitioners have also prayed that police personnel be provided specialised training in handling communal riots and situations where populations become restive

Published: 18th April 2022 02:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th April 2022 03:05 PM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court

Supreme Court (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind has moved the Supreme Court seeking directions that residential accommodations or commercial property cannot be demolished as a punitive measure. The petitioners said in the plea that the administration in several states is employing bulldozers to raze the houses of persons suspected to be involved in criminal incidents such as riots.

The petitioners have also prayed that police personnel be provided specialised training in handling communal riots and situations where populations become restive.

The petition states that there has recently been an increase in the incidents of demolition of residential and commercial properties by government administrations in several states as a punitive measure towards persons purportedly involved in criminal incidents.

The plea further seeks directions be issued to ministers, legislators and anybody unconnected with the criminal investigation to be restrained from apportioning criminal responsibility regarding criminal action publicly or through any official communication until determination by a criminal court.

“... 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 destruction of their homes and commercial properties in case of riots. Resorting to such measures/ actions is clearly against our constitutional ethos and the criminal justice system, as also in violation of the rights of accused persons. Such measures by the governments undermine the criminal justice system of our country, including the important role of the courts,” it said.

The plea has contended that the legal process, including the pre-trial and trial stage, is hindered by these acts of the state, therefore, immediate action is needed to prevent such incidents from recurring.

“The states wherein such measures are being employed by the administrative authorities have been carrying them out with impunity as they are being supported by the top leadership in the said states… Court must step in to stop the situation from escalating any further and also prevent such acts from being repeated in other states as well,” the plea added.

The petition says that such acts by the state governments show a complete disregard for the rights of accused persons.
 
It added that fastening guilt upon persons without any investigation and adjudication by a court thereafter in itself violates the rights of the alleged wrongdoers and demolition of properties of such persons is even more alarming as the administration, acting as an executor, has been giving punishments that are not even prescribed for the offences allegedly committed by the targeted persons.
 
“Thus, these acts of the authorities not only reverse the burden of proof against the alleged offenders, they also prevent the accused persons from adequately defending themselves against the allegations,” the plea said.



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