Former judges of the Supreme Court and high courts and some senior advocates have written a letter to the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana requesting the top court to take suo motu cognisance of the detention of protestors and demolition of their houses by the Uttar Pradesh authorities following protests against objectionable remarks made by BJP spokespersons.
"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," the letter signed by 12 former judges and senior advocates stated.
Instead of giving protestors an opportunity to be heard and engage in peaceful protests, the Uttar Pradesh state administration appears to have sanctioned taking violent action against such individuals, it said.
It also claimed that the chief minister 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 protestors, the letter added.
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 future."
It added, "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 protestors being demolished without notice or any cause of action, and protestors 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, it further added.
The letter was signed by former judges of the Supreme Court Justices B Sudarshan Reddy, V Gopala Gowda, AK Ganguly; Chief Justice of Delhi High Court and former chairperson, Law Commission of India Justice AP Shah; former judge of Madras high court Justice K Chandru; former judge of Karnataka high court Justice Mohammed Anwar; senior advocates Shanti Bhushan, Indira Jaising, Chander Uday Singh, Sriram Panchu, Anand Grover and advocate Prashant Bhushan.
On Monday, the Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind had moved the apex court seeking to issue directions to the state of Uttar Pradesh that no precipitate action be taken in Kanpur district against the residential or commercial property of any accused in any criminal proceedings as an extra-legal punitive measure.