New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh and the Union governments on the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and sought a response from the state on actions taken to ensure relief to those affected in the clashes.
The Uttar Pradesh government will file a report on Monday detailing steps taken in the aftermath of the riots which have affected over 20,000 people. At least 38 people have died in the clashes that broke out earlier this month, Press Trust of India had reported.
A three-judge bench headed by chief justice P. Sathasivam was hearing a public interest petition filed by Mohammad Haroon, a resident of Muzaffarnagar, seeking the court’s direction to restrain all political parties from indulging in communal and inflammatory speech, an offence under the law. The Centre and the state government have been directed to file affidavits by Monday when the matter comes up for hearing.
The petition also seeks that the Union government be directed to discharge its constitutional obligation of protection against “internal disturbance”.
Gopal Subramaniam, arguing for the petitioners, said that given the “festering situation”, the state has non-negotiable obligations. The petition also seeks that a commission of enquiry, headed by a retired judge, be set up to assess the loss of life and property as a result of the riots. The commission should be empowered to issue directions on protection and repair, argued Subramaniam.
He added that the cabinet secretary should be directed to submit a report every 72 hours. “The Central government should give report to the Supreme Court as it will restore credibility,” he said.
Rajeev Dhawan, representing the Uttar Pradesh government, assured the court that immediate steps will be taken to provide relief to the affected and the state would submit a report to it on this on Monday.
On Wednesday, another bench of the Supreme Court had agreed to give an urgent hearing to another petition filed by Haroon and others seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Muzaffarnagar riots.
Another petition has been filed in the Allahabad high court seeking that the CBI be directed to “constitute a Special Investigative Team (SIT) to enquire/investigate into all the major communal riots/sectarian violence that occurred after 15/03/2012, when a new government was formed in the State of Uttar Pradesh” till 11 September.