Thursday, April 25, 2024

Supreme Court rejects plea seeking directions to prevent Mahapanchayat in Uttarakhand

The Supreme Court refused to entertain a petition on Wednesday seeking to prevent a ‘mahapanchayat’ proposed to be held by Hindutva groups in Purola town of Uttar Kashi district in Uttarakhand on June 15.

The Vacation Bench of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah rejected the plea on the grounds that there was no urgency to approach the Supreme Court, when the High Court was there.

Advocate Sharukh Alam mentioned the matter before the Apex Court, seeking urgent listing as the mahapanchayat (conclave) was scheduled to be held on June 15. 

The Vacation bench initially refused to hear the petition, stating that it did not permit unlisted mentioning.

However, Alam claimed that the matter was of extreme urgency and apprised the top court of the country that an ultimatum has been given by certain groups to a particular community to leave the place before the conclave. 

Terming the law and order as an administrative issue, the top court of the country directed the petitioner to place some trust on the administration.

The Vacation Bench sought to know from the petitioner as to why he was distrusting the High Court. It further questioned the ‘short circuiting’ of the petition, noting that the Apex Court was neither on merits nor on cause. 

Advocate Alam pointed out that the Supreme Court had earlier issued a mandamus to the Uttarakhand government to take steps to ensure that no hate speeches were made.

The top court of the country responded by saying that if there was a mandamus by this Court, the High Court, which also has jurisdiction, would pass appropriate orders. 

The petitioner then sought permission to withdraw the petition, seeking liberty to move the High Court. 

The Apex Court dismissed the petition as withdrawn, granting liberty to the petitioner to avail alternate remedies under the law.

Filed by the Association for Protection of Civil Rights, the petition contended that if the mahapanchayat (conclave) was allowed to be held on June 15, it would increase the tensions already simmering in Purola town of Uttar Kashi district. 

Purola has been witnessing communal tension since May 26, after two men, including a Muslim and a Hindu, tried to abduct a 14-year-old girl. The incident was termed as a case of ‘love jihad’ by local residents.

Though police arrested both the accused, the incident simmered communal frenzy in the town, with certain outfits reportedly holding protests in several areas and attacking the shops and houses of Muslims residing in Purola.

Notices in the name of one ‘Devbhumi Raksha Sangathan’ were reportedly pasted on the shutters of shops owned by Muslim traders, threatening them to vacate the premises before the Mahapanchayat on June 15 or face dire consequences. 

As per reports, several Muslim families have already left the town, fearing for their safety.


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