New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain the plea filed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) against anti-encroachment drive in Delhi's Shaheen Bagh and asked the petitioner to approach the Delhi High Court. Calling the demolition drive a "routine exercise", the apex court said if it starts looking at such matters, then it "will look at such cases only".

During the hearing, the Supreme Court asked why the CPI(M) has filed a plea and what was the fundamental right that was violated under Article 32. The court further said that it took cognizance of the demolition in Jahangirpuri as "structures were brought down".

Meanwhile, Solicitor General (SC) Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said that only scrapeholdings such as "tables chairs outside on the road" are being removed. He alleged that misinformation is being spread, asking how people are "getting information that buildings are being brought down".

On this, the court directed the CPI(M) to approach the High Court. "We have to balance interests. We cannot deal with removal of encroachments in accordance with law. Persons who are aggrieved can approach appropriate forum," Justice L Nageswara Rao was quoted as saying by Bar and Bench.

"Don't take shelter under courts order just because we are showing interference. There cannot be such petitions in anticipation of action by political parties. should we look at only demolitions in the country. Why cannot you apppoach the High Court," Justice Rao said.

Earlier in the day, protests erupted in Shaheen Bagh with hundreds of people, including women, opposing the SDMC's anti-encroachment drive as bulldozers rolled into the area in the presence of heavy police personnel. Following the protest, the SDMC officials, who were part of the anti-encroachment drive, returned with bulldozers without conducting the exercise, an official said.

Protesters raised slogans against the BJP-ruled South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) as well as the central government and demanded that the action should be stopped. Some women protestors also stood in front of bulldozers to prevent the exercise. The protest also caused heavy traffic snarls in Shaheen Bagh, Kalindi Kunj, Jaitpur, Sarita Vihar and Mathura Road among other areas.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma