Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave expressed his apprehensions on Tuesday regarding the increasing practice by state governments of demolishing the residences of individuals accused of crimes. He emphasized that the right to a home is an integral component of the right to life as outlined in Article 21 of the Constitution.
A panel comprising Justices BR Gavai and Prashant Kumar Misra presided over a set of petitions related to the demolition operation conducted in Delhi's Jahangirpuri in April 2022, which was eventually halted by the highest court. Additionally, a separate plea concerning the demolition of homes of individuals facing criminal charges by states was also under consideration by the same bench. The bench was concurrently addressing other related matters as well.
During the previous hearing, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave expressed concerns about the adverse effects of what he termed 'bulldozer justice' on the families of individuals involved in criminal cases whose homes had been demolished. He called upon the Supreme Court of India to establish clear legal principles regarding the State's authority to exercise such powers, particularly when targeting specific segments of society.
Dave also raised concerns about the predominant Muslim demographic among those affected by the local authorities' demolition notice in Jahangirpuri. However, Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta sharply criticized this statement as an impromptu remark, asserting that the majority of residents in the area were Hindus, many of whom were affected by the demolition operation.
As the Solicitor-General was not available, today's hearing was postponed until the following Wednesday. Nonetheless, during the brief exchange in the courtroom, Dave once again emphasized the urgent necessity to establish legal guidelines to prevent the State from resorting to the demolition of people's homes as a punitive measure. Dave urged the Court to order the reconstruction of the demolished houses.