Saturday, January 28, 2023

Supreme Court dismisses plea seeking probe into religious clashes in states

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea seeking setting up of a Judicial Enquiry Commission under the Chairmanship of Former Chief Justice of India to enquire into the Religious clashes and subsequent Bull Dozer Justice that took place in Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat on the Occasion of Ramanavami and Ramzan.

The petition was listed before the bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B.R. Gavai.”You want a judicial enquiry by a former Chief Justice of India? Is anyone free? You find out and tell us”, enquired Justice Rao. 

“What sort of relief you are asking? Don’t ask for relief which the Court cannot grant”. Added Justice Rao

The petition had been filed in view of the recent incident that took place in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri on April 16, 2022, then during a Hanuman Jayanti Procession in Delhi’s Jahangir Puri Area stones were pelted on each other which resulted in a communal clash between the religious groups.

This situation had further escalated from stone pelting to sporadic arson and vandalism between the two communities.

The petition refers to four incidents of Communal Violence, starting with Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone where on March 18, 2022 community clash took place during the Ram Navami processions which saw rioting with more than 50 houses and properties being burnt and gutted. In response to such conflict and tension, the Madhya Pradesh government used the bull dozers to demolish and vandalise 16 houses ad 29 shops of the alleged stone pelters.
The Second incident that the petition refers to is from Karauli, Rajasthan, when on April 2, 2022 a stone pelting incident had arisen between the right wing organisations – Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Bajrang Dal and a Muslim group during a bike rally on Nav Samvatsar (Hindu New Year).

According to the petition the situation became worse when he incident of stone pelting reached out to the situation of arson and vandalism resulted in more than 30 shops being burnt and around 35 people sustained injuries in the violence, leading to curfew and internet shut down in the area. 

The next incident that has been brought to the court’s attention by the petition is of “bull dozer justice” from Khambhat in Gujrat. On April 10, 2002 riot and community clash had taken place on the occasion of  Ram Navami.

In view of the above the state government has ordered the demolition of the encroachments which were belonging to the accused at the site of the riot at Shakarpur in Khambhat.

The fourth incident is the Communal clashes that took place in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri. The petition has stated that the administration demolished the shops belonging to the accused of such violence and riot and has averred that the state has failed in its duty of regulation and investigation of offences and consequential prosecution.

“Such action of the government is an absolute example of deterrent theory of punishment. The executive being one of the organs of a democracy has the duty of regulation and investigation of offences and consequential prosecution of the accused and not to impose sanction on someone who has not been tried as per the relevant law of the land. Such actions are absolutely discriminatory and does not fit into the notion of democracy and rule of law.

The violation of such individuals are violated under right to life and equality under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution.” Reads the petition.

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