NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Uttar Pradesh government, and authorities in Prayagraj as well as Kanpur Dev to file their responses on the alleged use of bulldozers for “retaliatory demolition” of houses of riot-accused, within three days. The top court has scheduled the next hearing in the said case for next week.
The apex court also told the UP government to strictly follow the process of law while removing unauthorised structures.
Senior advocate CU Singh and advocate Nithya Ramakrishnan, who appeared for Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, told the Supreme Court that the UP chief minister had warned of retaliatory demolitions using bulldozers and that officials demolished the houses of riot-accused without serving notice, as required under law.
A bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Vikram Nath said that there must be a “sense among citizenry that rule of law prevails in the country”.
Meanwhile, solicitor general (SG) Tushar Mehta said in the court that due process was followed. He claimed that it would be “travesty of judicial process if the Supreme Court gives an omnibus direction based on a PIL, that rule of law should be followed across the country”.
SG Mehta pointed out that no aggrieved person has approached the apex court as they knew the demolitions were carried out following due process of law. “Aggrieved persons are well-off and could move court to protect their property rights. The high court can give relief if their properties were legal,” he also said.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, who appeared for Prayagraj development authority, said prior notice as required by law was given in a case as far back as August 2020, before the demolitions were carried out. “We will put everything on affidavit. The PIL is riding on a misconceived notion spread after riots,” he added.

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