Ex-judges, advocates write to CJI on 'bulldozer action' in UP

India's Chief Justice N V Ramana. Photo: IANS

New Delhi: A group of former Supreme Court and High Court judges along with senior advocates on Tuesday wrote a petition letter to the Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana to take suo motu cognizance against recent demolition drives in Uttar Pradesh in the aftermath of 'Prophet remarks row'.

The letter, signed by 12 former judges including former Supreme Court Judges -- Justice B. Sudarshan Reddy, Justice V. Gopala Gowda, Justice A.K. Ganguly, and senior lawyers, has urged the Court to stop the "deteriorating law and order situation" in the state.

Recent remarks made by certain BJP spokespersons (since suspended from the office) on Prophet Mohammed have resulted in protests in multiple parts of the country and particularly in Uttar Pradesh.

Instead of giving protesters an opportunity of being heard and engage in peaceful protests, the Uttar Pradesh administration appears to have sanctioned taking violent action against such individuals, the letter stated.

"The Chief Minister 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 the law into their hands in the future. He has further directed that the National Security Act, 1980, and the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986, be invoked against those found guilty of unlawful protests. It is these remarks that have emboldened the police to brutally and unlawfully torture protesters," it read.

Further, it said that videos of young men in police custody being beaten with lathis, houses of protesters being demolished without notice or any cause of action, and protesters from the minority Muslim community being chased and beaten by the police, are circulating on social media, shaking the conscience of the nation.

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.

"... we urge the Supreme Court to take immediate suo motu action to arrest the 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 urged.

Former Delhi High Court Chief Justice AP Shah, former Madras High Court Justice K. Chandru, and former Karnataka High Court Justice Mohammed Anwar are the other judges who signed the letter.

Apart from the judges, senior advocates Shanti Bhushan, Indira Jaisingh, Chander Uday Singh, Sriram Panchu, Prashant Bhushan, and Anand Grover also signed the petition letter.

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