The Supreme Court on Monday took serious note of rioting and destruction of public property during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and said it must stop immediately.
The apex court, which agreed to hear on Tuesday pleas alleging police atrocities on students holding protests against the Act at the Aligarh Muslim University and the Jamial Millia Islamia University here, said it will not hear this issue in such an atmosphere of violence.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said "The only thing we want is that the violence must stop," adding, "if protests and violence and damage of public property will be there, we will not hear the matter".
The bench also comprising justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant made the observation after a group of lawyers led by senior advocate Indira Jaising and Collin Gonsalves urged it to take suo motu (on its own) cognisance of the alleged violence unleashed against protesting students.
"We will determine everything but not in this atmosphere of violence. What is this? Public properties are being destroyed, buses are being burnt," the bench said.
When the advocates insisted that the court must take cognisance of the issue, the CJI said, "We are not to be bullied like this. All this violence has to stop".
At the outset, Jaising told the court that apex court should take suo motu cognisance of the violence unleashed on students all over the country especially in Aligarh.
She told the court that serious violence has taken place against the students and several of them have been hospitalised with broken limbs.
Jaising said that when there was a clash between advocates and lawyers at a district court premises here, the Delhi High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the incident and passed orders.
"No one can stop peaceful demonstrations. We don't want any rioting. These riotings have been engineered against students," Jaising said.
Gonsalves told the court that he had visited the hospital and lockup on Sunday where students form Jamial Millia Islamia were kept by the police.
"All that we are saying is we want the riot to stop," the bench said.
The bench said the law and order situation have to be handled by the police.
"But first stop the violence. If you want to go to streets like this we can't help you. We are not against peaceful demonstration, the bench said.
Gonslaves told the court that the court should consider what the Vice Chancellor of AMU and Chief Proctor of Jamia Millia Islamia have said over the violence at their campus.
"We want a committee of former judges to go to AMU and see what is happening there," Gonsalves said.
To this the bench said, "We will do that but let there be peace first. We don't know what is happening".
The bench asked lawyers to file their petitions and said it would hear them tomorrow.
Students of Jamia Millia Islamia and locals protested at Jamia Nagar in Delhi on Sunday against the amended Citizenship Act.
Protesters torched four buses and two police vehicles as they clashed with police in south Delhi New Friends' Colony.
Police baton charged the protesters and used tear gas shells to disperse the mob before entering the varsity campus, detaining several persons allegedly involved in the violence.