Cannot demolish construction by giving 24 hours’ notice: MP high Court

The petitioners alleged that since they have filed a petition against the sitting MLA, this action was being taken against them

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The High Court of Madhya Pradesh (Indore) has held in a case that the petitioners should have been given more than 24 hours notice before demolition considering they have occupied the land for 10 years. Justice Satyendra Kumar Singh directed the Tehsildar to follow due process of law and asked them to supply the proper documents to the petitioners before deciding on the demolition.

The Tehsildar, Bhanpura of Mandsaur district had issued a show cause notice to the petitioners to demolish the construction allegedly made on government land, in Nimthur village. As per the petitioners, the notice was issued because they have filed an Election Petition against a sitting MLA of the ruling party. While the notice was served on December 28, 2022 at around 6.45 pm, he was directed to file reply on December 29, 2022 itself failing which the construction would be demolished. The petitioners contended that the contents of the notice apparently shows that the same has been given with political reasons and proper opportunity has not been given to the petitioners to file their reply and therefore sought quashing of the notice.

The court noted that since the petitioners have been in possession of the said land since 10 years it appears appropriate to give them some reasonable time to file response. The court restrained the State from taking any action against them.

The court also directed the respondents to provide relevant papers with regard to demarcation of the land in question to the petitioners within 3 days after which the petitioners will file response within 10 days. Thereafter, the Tehlsidar will pass appropriate order in accordance with law after considering the reply.

It is further directed that respondents will not take any coercive action against the petitioners after passing of the said order for 7 days and provide reasonable time to the petitioners to approach the competent authority.

This is a significant judgement considering the state of affairs in many BJP ruled states where the governments are using demolition as a tool to reprimand accused; which has been deemed to be retaliatory rather than a lawful means of punishment. In many cases, the aggrieved persons have claimed that either no notice has been issued or only 24 hours notice has been issued asking the occupants to vacate their homes which they have residents of for years together. As this has been held to be unreasonable by the Madhya Pradesh High Court, it is required to be followed by that State government and taken as an example by other governments as well.

A detailed list of demolition actions by state governments may be read here.

The complete order may be read here:



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