The Uttar Pradesh government has informed the Supreme Court that the recent “demolitions” of some private properties in Kanpur and Prayagraj were “carried out by the Kanpur Development Authority and Prayagraj Development Authority strictly in accordance with the Uttar Pradesh Urban Planning and Development Act, 1972” and that they had nothing to do with the rioting incidents. This is in response to claims that these actions were done without following due process of law.
In response to a complaint made against the demolitions by the Muslim group Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, the UP government claimed that “the petitioner has attempted to give a malafide colour to lawful action taken by the local development authorities as per procedure established by law by cherry-picking one-sided media reporting of a few incidents and extrapolating sleeping allegations from the same against the state.”
According to the response, “the same is submitted to be entirely false and misleading,” and “the said demolitions…have been carried out by the Local Development Authorities, which are statutory autonomous bodies, independent of the state administration, as per law as part of their routine effort against unauthorised/illegal constructions, in accordance with” the 1972 Act.
The state said that in the two demolition cases in Kanpur, the builders had “accepted” the projects’ illegalities in the compounded application.
To support its claim that the demolition operation was intended to target the riot suspects, Jamiat has cited a number of statements made by state officials. The state “takes strong exception to the petitioner’s attempt to name the highest constitutional functionaries of the state and falsely colour and the local development authority’s lawful actions strictly complying with the…Act as “extra legal punitive measures” against accused persons targeting any particular religious community,” according to the affidavit in response. All of these claims are categorically incorrect and vigorously disputed.
The UP government requested that the petition be dismissed and that the court “hold the petitioner to terms for the abovementioned false claims without basis.” According to the statement, “the state government is taking strict action against the persons accused of rioting in accordance with a completely different set of statutes, namely” the CRPC and IPC, UP Gangster and Anti Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986, Prevention of Public Property Damages Act, and Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Act, 2020.”
It stated that “commercial construction work was being undertaken on the basement, ground, first, second, and third floors of the building in a residential area of approximately 130 square metres contrary to the plan that was sanctioned for the building on 6.7.2016,” which is how the action against one Ishtiaq Ahmed in Kanpur came about.
On August 17, 2020, he received a show-cause notice from the Act requiring him to cease the work and show up in person for a hearing on August 28. However, neither he nor his attorney showed up for the hearing, which resulted in the sealing of the property and the sending of “many notices.” However, the seal was broken, and a FIR was made as a result.
“The builder’s permitted double-storey residential building map was violated on the site by the construction of the basement, ground floor, first floor, second floor, and third floor. A demolition notice was issued on April 19, 2022, giving the owner of the unapproved construction 15 days to remove it. Commercial construction was also done in violation of the approved residential map, and projections were made in the sidestreet to completely cover all setbacks, the affidavit noted.
The state is acting like a bulldozer on rampage, snubbing the court and the rule of law, according to the editorial.
However, it said that since he disobeyed, on June 11 some sections of the building that covered the site’s setbacks were destroyed.
Iftikar Ahmed, Ishtiaq Ahmed’s son, stated in a compounding application that “the non-compoundable component of the construction will be dismantled by the dependent himself” on June 17, 2022. The reply affidavit said, “Therefore, the offence of improper building has been admitted by the builder himself.”
The UP government took action against a man named Riyaz Ahmed in Kanpur and claimed that he was carrying out construction work “without any authorization or approval from the Authority” for the purpose of establishing a gas station.
On February 18, 2022, a stop development notice was issued. He received a show-cause notice on February 23 setting up a personal hearing for March 8 as a result of his failure to cooperate. On April 20, a demolition order was issued and the premises were ordered sealed because neither he nor his lawyer showed up for the hearing. The authority then dismantled a piece of the border wall that was still being built at the contested location on June 11.
After that, on June 17, Riyaz Ahmed submitted a request for the construction to be compounded along with an affidavit “wherein the illegality and irregularity in the project has been admitted by the owner,” according to the state.
“Therefore, a review of the aforesaid facts reveals that two instances of removal of unpermitted illegal constructions in Kanpur by the Kanpur development Authority on June 11 were part of the ongoing demolition drive against encroachments and illegal constructions and had no relation to the riots as falsely claimed by the petitioner. The petitioner has purposefully distorted the truth in order to portray the Administration in a defamatory light, and all without providing any evidence in an affidavit, the state claimed.
It was stated that actions “against the said person for illegal construction without any sanction at all” and “unauthorised use of residential land as an office had been initiated much prior to incidents of rioting” were taken in the case of the demolition of a home in Prayagraj where a man named Javed Mohammed was residing.
Javed Mohammed resided in the space, and “a name plate made of marble was installed on the building’s boundary wall with “Javed M” written on it; additionally, above the boundary, there was a signboard with the words “Welfare Party of India” and the name of Mr. Javed Mohammed, State General Secretary, written on it.”
According to the reply affidavit, the Prayagraj Development Authority received numerous complaints from locals “about the unauthorised office usage in a residential neighbourhood as well as illegal structures and encroachments qua the said land.” The state emphasised that the complaints mentioned the steady stream of tourists who used to park their cars on the road causing a persistent problem in commuting.
On May 10, a show-cause notice was released, allowing for a personal hearing on May 24. The notice was attempted to be personally delivered at the location, but the server reported that when family members arrived, they refused to accept the notice, therefore it was then properly served by pasting on the building’s wall in accordance with the Act.
Javed Mohammed was instructed to take down the unauthorised building himself within 15 days, by June 9, but neither he nor his representative Noor showed up for the show cause court. “The illegal construction was demolished by the Prayagraj Development Authority on June 12 after following due process of law and the same had no link to incidence of writing,” it continued. “It was only after proper service and providing adequate chance under… the Act.”