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We only asked you to close shops, not seal them: SC to govt
November 06, 2006 20:39 IST
The Supreme Court on Monday took strong exception to central government's stand expressing its helplessness in carrying out sealing drive in New Delhi, citing the law and order situation.
The court also said that, in its initial order, it had asked the shops to be shut and not sealed.
'You [the government] think that 25,000 people [the traders], by putting a dagger to the throat of someone [the authorities] can hold the entire peoples' right, life, liberty and property to ransom,' the bench asked, pulling up the government.
While referring to the situation prevailing in the capital for last six days, the bench reminded the authorities of their duty saying that they cannot take refuge for failure to implement the orders under the view that there was a public reaction.
'One of the arguments given is public reaction,' the bench said, referring to the violence witnessed during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, 1993 Mumbai riots and the Gujarat violence in 2002.
'The government's stand in all such situations was that because of the public reaction we are unable to take action,' the court said adding that those who are suppose to implement the provisions of the law cannot express their helplessness.
The court referred to the provisions of Article 144 of the Constitution that makes it mandatory on the administrative authorities, both civil and judicial, to act in the aid of the Supreme Court.
Referring to its orders of February 16 and September 29, the court said it only meant that the traders will keep their shutters down. 'The order did not mean sealing. The order was that you should keep the shutters down till such time the matter is decided,' the bench said.
While the Solicitor-General G E Vahanvati, MCD counsel Abhishekh Singhvi and Delhi Government counsel V P Singh made a submission seeking concession to traders, the bench observed that 'we have committed a mistake by providing relief to traders on September 29'.