The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday deferred hearing in a suo motu plea initiated into the demolition exercise carried out by local authorities in Nuh following the communal violence in the district on July 31.
The matter was listed for hearing before the bench of chief justice RS Jha and justice Vikas Bahl and was taken up for hearing at around 3pm. However, it had to be adjourned as the chief justice was to attend another event. The next date of hearing has not been put out as of now.
On August 7, a division bench comprising justice GS Sandhawalia and justice Harpreet Kaur Jeewan had taken suo motu cognisance of the demolitions and observed that the law-and-order situation was being “used as a ruse” to pull buildings without due process. On August 11, a bench of justices Arun Palli and Jagmohan Bansal were reassigned the case, the reasons for which were not clear.
The demolition exercise began in Nuh on August 3, three days after communal violence erupted in the district on July 31 during a Hindu religious procession, injuring several and killing at least six. The demolitions continued till the morning of August 7, when the high court intervened and questioned the government over it.
In the report submitted in high court, the government had denied apprehensions of “ethnic cleansing” and said that exercise was carried out as per law. “No demolition was carried out without following the procedure of law. It is also pertinent to mention that the government while removing encroachments/unauthorised constructions never adopted pick-and-choose policy and that too on the basis of caste, creed or religion. State government, while collecting such information on encroachments, does not collect any information with regard to caste, creed and religion and all the encroachers are dealt with in the same manner,” affidavits of the deputy commissioners of both Gurugram and Nuh stated.
In Nuh, 443 structures belonging to 354 individuals were demolished. Among these, 71 were that of Hindus and 283 of Muslims, the authorities had stated. The government had claimed that number of affected Muslims was high as almost 80% of population in Nuh are Muslims.