Madhya Pradesh High Court rejects PIL accusing state of ‘tearing down’ houses of defendants/suspects without legal sanction

The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Wednesday dismissed a PIL seeking court interference in the recent series of demolitions of homes and other pukka constructions by state police, belonging to people allegedly in conflict with the law.

Ask the locus standi of the Applicant, practicing lawyer, the bench of division of Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Judge PK Kaurav observed that there was no connection between him and the people whose properties were demolished. Therefore, the Court considered that it was up to those directly affected by the demolitions to move the Court-

After reviewing the arguments and pleadings, we are of the view that it may not be appropriate to consider this motion as public interest litigation. Even if the petitioner’s case is to be accepted that some homes of some people were demolished, those people necessarily have the legal right to defend themselves and their property in a manner known by law. We see no connection to the petitioner and the people whose properties were demolished. Therefore, it is up to such persons to appropriately apply to the Court for the necessary order they deem appropriate. We see no reason to support this petition on behalf of the current petitioner.

The PIL was filed by Mr. Amitabh Gupta, who is an Advocate in the High Court of Madhya Pradesh. According to the petition, he was concerned about “satanic methods” adopted by the state “in the name of maintaining public order and instilling fear in the minds of those allegedly in conflict with the law.”

The petition mentioned that it had become common to find news of houses and pukka buildings belonging to persons accused/suspected of a crime being demolished by the police without following any due process. The petitioner had further argued that, in accordance with our constitutional and legal framework, authorities constituted under any law, civil or criminal, could only exercise their sanctioning power after following due process, which involved at least the opportunity to be heard. However, the petitioner had argued that it was completely incomprehensible in our criminal justice system that a defendant’s home/property would be demolished simply because he was accused/suspected of an offence.

Such acts of the state, the petition stated, affected the family of an accused, and that no stretch of the imagination could make them liable to be punished in the manner aforesaid, that too without following due process. According to the petitioner, in doing so, the State violated Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

The petition asked the court to order the summoning of the records of cases in which the state demolished homes or other structures belonging to the accused/suspect without authority of law. He had also requested instructions from the Court to the authorities concerned not to take any action, as mentioned in the request, in violation of the law.

Case Title: AMITABHA GUPTA v. THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH

Appearances: Mr. Amitabh Gupta, petitioner in person; MAA Bernard, Adl. AG for the State

Click here to read/download the order