Khargone demolitions: Madhya Pradesh High Court issues notice to state on residents' plea

The two notices were issued by the MP High Court's Indore Bench on April 22 and April 28 respectively on writ petitions filed by owners of a restaurant and a bakery.
Madhya Pradesh High Court (File photo| PTI)
Madhya Pradesh High Court (File photo| PTI)

BHOPAL: The Madhya Pradesh High Court has issued notices to the state government and police over bulldozing of alleged "illegal properties" by the administration and police in the April 10 communal violence hit Khargone town.

The two notices were issued by the MP High Court's Indore Bench on April 22 and April 28 respectively on writ petitions filed by owners of a restaurant and a bakery, which were demolished by the local authorities on April 12.

The notices have been issued by two separate benches of the MP High Court in Indore to the MP Government (through the chief secretary), state home department (through principal secretary-home), inspector general of police (IG-Indore Range), Khargone district collector and the chief municipal officer of the Khargone Nagar Palika Parishad.

In the first petition pertaining to the demolition of the portion of Waqt Restaurant, the single judge bench of Justice Pranay Verma, on April 22, directed the respondents to file replies within four weeks. On the other petition pertaining to the demolition of the Super Bakery, another single judge bench of Justice Subodh Abhyankar, issued notices to the respondents on April 28, seeking a reply in six weeks.

According to Syed Ashhar Ali Warsi, the counsel for both the petitioners, the respondents have illegally and arbitrarily carried out the demolition of the properties, despite the petitioners being the legal owners of the properties through an appropriate process of law and paying of all relevant taxes. The petitions were filed against the administration for being judge and jury in itself in taking a decision in a vendetta against the petitioners being members of a minority community without reasonability and rationality. The action taken by the administration was against the principle of natural justice and humanitarian ground of law.

"By carrying out the arbitrary and illegal demolition without any proper notice, the administration has deprived the petitioners of the Right to Livelihood and Right to Shelter. In the case of Waqt restaurant owned by Ateeq Ali, not only was the front portion of the restaurant demolished, but two rooms built on the restaurant (which were well-drafted within the sale deed) which housed the staff of the restaurant were also demolished. Thus while the owner of the restaurant has been deprived of the Right to Livelihood, the restaurant staff have been deprived of the Right to Shelter," the counsel for the petitioners told The New Indian Express on Friday.

"The demolition of the Super Bakery is even more shocking, as rioters had set ablaze the same bakery during the communal violence on April 10. Two days later, the administration not only demolished the Bakery (despite its owner Amjad having all requisite ownership and related documents) but even demolished the generator installed there," Warsi said.

In their petitions, the petitioners have declared that no other proceeding on the same subject matter has been instituted in any court, authority or tribunal.

The petitioners in both the writ petitions, have demanded institution of a judicial enquiry against the arbitrary and illegal action of the government/administration, compensation for the demolished properties and their reconstruction and punitive action against the concerned officers who've acted extra judicially, the counsel added.

During the hearing of the petition challenging the demolition of part of Waqt Restaurant, the additional advocate general of MP, Pushyamitra Bhargav, submitted that due process of law has been followed in the matter of demolition of the property. Only that part of the property has been demolished, which could not have been compounded under the provisions of law. He further submitted that for the remaining part of the property, no action shall be taken against the petitioner for its demolition without following the due process of law.

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