- Take suo motu congnizance of the recent incidents
- Rise up to the occasion to arrest deteriorating situation in UP
Twelve legal luminaries led by Justice B Sudarshan Reddy have a sent a letter to the Chief Justice of India requesting him to consider it as an urgent appeal to take suo motu cognizance of the recent incidents of violence and repression by State authorities on citizens of Uttar Pradesh. The letter reminded of the recent remarks made by certain BJP spokespersons, who were suspended from office, on the Prophet Mohammed which have resulted in protests in many parts of the country.
Instead of giving protesters an opportunity to engage in peaceful protest and hear them, the Chief Minister of UP has reportedly officially exhorted the officials “to take action against those guilty that it sets an example so that no one commits a crime or takes law into his or her hands in future. The CM 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, the letter said. Pursuant to this, the UP police have arrested more than 300 persons and registered FIRs against protesting citizens. 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.
The letter also said that such a brutal clampdown by the 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 other government 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 mettle of the judiciary is tested in such critical times. On many 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. Some recent examples are the suo motu actions taken by the Supreme Court in the migrant workers matter and in the Pegasus matter. In the same spirit, and in its role as custodian of the Constitution, we, therefore, urge the Hon’ble 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 the 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 concluded.
The letter was signed by 1. Justice B. Sudarshan Reddy, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India, 2. Justice V. Gopala Gowda, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India, 3. Justice A.K. Ganguly, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India, 4. Justice A P Shah, Former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court and former Chairperson, Law Commission of India, 5. Justice K Chandru, Former Judge, Madras High Court, 6. Justice Mohammed Anwar, Former Judge, Karnataka High Court, 7. Mr. Shanti Bhushan, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court, 8. Ms. Indira Jaisingh, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court, 9. Mr. Chander Uday Singh, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court, 10. Mr. Sriram Panchu, Senior Advocate, Madras High Court, 11 . Mr. Prashant Bhushan, Advocate, Supreme Court, 12. Mr. Anand Grover, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court.