Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Mettle of the judiciary is tested in critical times: Former judges say in letter to CJI NV Ramana

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A letter petition has been sent to Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana by former judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts along with senior lawyers urging the Apex Court to take up Suo Motu Cognizance (SMC) of state and police violence against protesters and the Muslim community in Uttar Pradesh.

The letter petition was sent in the wake of the objectionable statements made by some BJP spokespersons (now suspended) on Prophet Muhammad that stirred violence in the many parts of the country.

The letter petition wants the Apex Court to urgently intervene and take Suo Motu Cognizance of the recent act of illegal detention, violence on protesters and those in police custody.

The petition further states that bulldozing has begun again on the people who protested against certain objectionable remarks made by BJP spokespersons.

This letter petition says that why are the protesters not given a chance to be heard and protest if they think it is wrong (Its their right to speak your mind in democracy).

The letter states that the UP Government instead for resolving the matter is taking violent actions which is leading to a new set of issues.

The Chief Minister of the Uttar Pradesh state has reportedly officially exhorted officials “to take such action against those guilty that it sets an example so that no one commits a crime or takes law into their hands in future,” the letter petition, filed before the Supreme Court said.

An information says that the CM of Uttar Pradesh has directed to invoke the National Security Act, 1980, and the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986, on those who are found guilty of unlawful protests.

The letter says that this remark of CM has given the strength to police for doing atrocities on the protestors.

The UP police have so far arrested more than 300 persons and registered FIRs against protesting citizens. Videos of young men in police custody being beaten with lathis, houses of protestors being demolished without notice.

The petition talks about the Muslim community being chased and beaten by the police, which is creating a feeling of helplessness and irritation among people.

“Such a brutal clampdown by a ruling administration is an unacceptable subversion of the rule of law and a violation of the rights of citizens, and makes a mockery of the Constitution and fundamental rights guaranteed by the State. The coordinated manner in which the police and development authorities have acted lead to the clear conclusion that demolitions are a form of collective extra judicial punishment, attributable to a state policy which is illegal,” the letter petition said.

The letter says the” mettle of the judiciary is tested in such critical times”. It mentioned that on several occasions, including in the recent past, the judiciary has faced such challenges and emerged with distinction as the custodian of the rights of the people.

The request by the former judiciary heads is that in the same spirit, as the custodian of the Constitution, the Supreme Court should take immediate action and give order for improvement of deteriorating law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh, specifically involving the high-handedness of the police and state authorities, and the brutal clampdown on the fundamental rights of citizens. We hope and trust the Supreme Court will rise to the occasion and not let the citizens and the Constitution down at this critical juncture, the letter petition filed before the Supreme Court said.

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