New Delhi (ILNS): A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Centre to impose President’s rule, as per provisions of Article 356 of the Indian Constitution, in Uttar Pradesh.
The PIL has been filed by CR Jaya Sukin, who is a practicing lawyer in the Supreme Court.
The PIL has a huge list of reasons for this demand. They are:
“…unlawful and arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings perpetrated by police, torture by prison officials, arbitrary arrest and detention by government authorities, political prisoners in the state, restrictions on press and freedom of expression, including violence, threats of violence, or unjustified arrests or prosecutions against journalists, use of criminal libel laws to prosecute social media speech, censorship, and site blocking, overly restrictive rules on non-governmental organizations (NGOs), frequent reports of widespread corruption at all levels of government, violence and discrimination targeting minorities based on religious affiliation or social status, rising crimes against Dalits and forced and compulsory child labour, including bonded labor, jobless, poverty, unsafe state for women, police attack on national leaders…”
The PIL states that all the above “confirm that a situation has arisen in which the government of the Uttar Pradesh State” cannot carry out governance in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
“Uttar Pradesh state has been ranked as the most unsafe state for women in the country. According to the annual report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, released in January 2020, a case of rape is registered with the Uttar Pradesh police every two hours, while crime against a child is reported every 90 minutes in the state,”
states the PIL.
The petitioner has also laid emphasis on the government or its agents of committing arbitrary or unlawful killings, including extrajudicial killings of the suspected criminals and insurgents. The petition contends that victims of crime were sometimes subjected to intimidation, threats, and attacks, including by government officials.
The petitioner has stated that between 2016 and 2019, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) registered 2,008 cases where minorities/Dalits were harassed, including the cases of lynchings.
In Uttar Pradesh, Muslim women are not safe, said the petition. It said the state police is not taking any step to save Muslim women in the state. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2019 banned the practice of ‘triple talaq’ or instant divorce effective from August 1. Some women seeking relief under this law have experienced domestic violence, claimed the Petitioner.
The petitioner maintained:
“The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued a notice to Uttar Pradesh on June 9, 2020, raising serious issues of violations of human rights as the state authorities have failed to ensure right to life and medical care to its citizens. Many people were attacked by vigilante cow protection groups. These self-appointed guardians of cows illegally beat up people involved in transportation of cattle. Activists too face intimidation, physical attacks and harassment. Several other journalists and activists were also arrested on false charges…”
The PIL also quotes the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) data which has shown that unemployment almost doubled in UP during 2019 compared to 2018. The average unemployment rate in UP had jumped to 9.95 per cent during last year as against 5.91 per cent in 2018.
“Such discrimination will amount to arbitrary and unreasonable exercise of power and the same shall not be not be inconformity with Articles 14, 16, 21 of the Constitution of India,” Sukin submitted .
In light of the above grounds the petitioner has prayed for imposition of Article 356 of the Constitution, which refers to failure of constitutional machinery in a state. In such a case the President of India, on receipt of report from the Governor of the State or otherwise, may impose President’s rule thereof.
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In support of the PIL, the petitioner has referred to the alleged Hathras gang rape case, police lathi charge on AMU student, Unnao rape case, Dr Kafeel Khan’s illegal detention, fake encounter case and others.