SC warns against politicising order on Ravidas temple demolition
Last week, protests had erupted in many parts of Punjab against the Supreme Court’s recent order to demolish the Guru Ravidas temple, built illegally on forest land in Delhi.Updated: Aug 20, 2019 01:01 IST
The Supreme Court on Monday warned against giving a “political colour” to its orders by people protesting against the demolition of the Guru Ravidas temple in the Tughlaqabad forest area of the national capital.
“Everything cannot be political. Our orders can’t be given a political colour by anybody on earth,” a bench comprising justices Arun Mishra and M.R. Shah said.
Last week, protests had erupted in many parts of Punjab against the Supreme Court’s recent order to demolish the Guru Ravidas temple, built illegally on forest land in Delhi.
The top court last week cautioned against politicization of its judgements and warned that it would initiate contempt proceedings against those involved in such agitations.
“What do you think?...This is a Supreme Court order…You can’t organize protests like this…You can’t politicise our orders,” a three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said after it was informed about the protests. The counsel appearing for one of the sects pleaded ignorance and said the protests were not in Delhi but in Punjab.
But this did not impress the bench, which expressed concern at the way top court’s orders were being politicized by groups, sects and political parties for their gains. “How can we allow this to happen? After all this is the Supreme Court. We need to bring this to a logical conclusion and lay down some guidelines,” remarked justice Mishra as he sought attorney general KK Venugopal’s assistance.
SC had on April 2 ordered that the premises built on forest land be vacated and directed the occupants to hand over the building’s possession to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). However, it was not done and on August 2, a false statement was allegedly made on behalf of office bearers of Guru Ravidas Jayanti Samaroh Samiti that the premises had been vacated.
After being told that it was misled, the top court on August 9 directed the DDA to remove the structure by August 10 and asked the Commissioner of Delhi Police to provide protection for the purpose. The chief secretary of Delhi was also directed to ensure compliance with its order. It had also sought the personal presence of officer bearers of the Samiti and said contempt notices would be issued to them if the order was not complied with.
Last week, the court was told that the structure had been removed but people in Punjab had started an agitation against the demolition.
This upset the Bench, which said it would not tolerate such behaviour. “Once the Supreme Court has passed the order, you can’t indulge in politics over it…You can’t politicise an order of the Supreme Court,” said Justice Mishra.
Protests were organised three days after the temple was demolished. There were reports from Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Phagwara that a call fora shutdown strike evoked a good response with shops and commercial establishments remaining closed, forcing the administration to shut schools and colleges, a step taken as part of precautionary measures.