The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Yogi Adityanath government on the violence during the anti-CAA protests in Uttar Pradesh. The court issued the notice on a complaint filed by a Mumbai-based lawyer alleging that the Uttar Pradesh government had acted in an unconstitutional manner while dealing with anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protesters.
The lawyer, Ajay Kumar of Bombay High Court, referred to news reports published in The Telegraph and the New York Times on December 29, 2019, and January 2, 2020, respectively, that had observed that the situation in the state was antithetical to the core constitutional values and as such the High Court needed to intervene.
Kumar's email to High Court Chief Justice Govind Mathur also demanded the institution of a judicial inquiry and cited news reports to allege that the state police committed atrocities on madarsa students, while they were protesting against the CAA.
Treating the email as public interest litigation (PIL), a division bench comprising Chief Justice Mathur and Justice Vivek Varma sought a reply from the Adityanath government as to why the prayer of the petitioner should not be admitted.
The court fixed January 16 for the next date of hearing.
The court has also appointed two senior lawyers — S.F.A. Naqvi and Ramesh Kumar — as amicus curiae to assist the court in the case. A copy of the court's observation has also been sent to the Mumbai-based lawyer.
During the hearing, Naqvi also presented a news report on the same topic published in the Lucknow edition of an English daily.
Earlier, Uttar Pradesh Human Rights Commission (UPHRC) chairperson Justice (retired) Rafat Alam had directed the state chief secretary to make a "detailed enquiry of all the related incidents" involving the state police during the anti-CAA protests and send a report within four weeks.
The UPHRC noted that according to media reports, several people were injured and "many died" when police resorted to lathi-charge and firing at rallies and dharnas organized by the protesters against the CAA.
In December, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had also issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh Police in the matter.
The NHRC had received complaints seeking its intervention in the alleged incidents of violation of human rights by the police against protesters, following which a notice was issued to the Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) seeking a report in four weeks.
The complainant to the NHRC had alleged that after the passage of the CAA, "there have been many incidents of human rights violations" by the authorities in Uttar Pradesh.
The Adityanath government though has maintained that the state police exhibited utmost restraint even in the face of arson and violence by protesters across the state.
First Published: IST