Noting that “the Centre cannot impose the CBI on a State government”, the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a plea seeking CBI inquiry into the circumstances of the armed conflict between squatters and Uttar Pradesh Police at Jawahar Bagh public park in Mathura on June 2, 2016, which led to the death of 22 civilians and two senior police officers.
A Bench of Justices P.C. Ghose and Amitava Roy observed that the petitioner and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay has shown nothing on record to show that the Akhilesh Yadav government is “inactive” in the aftermath of the violence.
“Admittedly, you have not shown us any proof that the State government is inactive or no steps have been taken (for a fair probe) or there is a deficiency in the investigation or there is lack of confidence among the public about the investigation,” Justice Roy addressed senior advocate Geeta Luthra appearing for the petitioner.
The court said Mr. Upadhyay had no locus standi to move the Supreme Court in a PIL when there is already a PIL pending in the Allahabad High Court, based on which an order was given to evict the public park which had been encroached since 2014 by squatters, who were armed cult members who went on to form a parallel government in the area.
The court dismissed Ms. Luthra’s submission that the existing PIL in the High Court was only limited to the encroachment of the park.
She said that Mr. Upadhyay’s PIL in the apex court, besides seeking a CBI probe, alleged a nexus between several Ministers in the U.P. government and the cult.
The petition had alleged that the cult would not have prospered on the encroached land for so long without the active help of the State government. Now, evidence at the site of the violence is being destroyed to snap any links leading to the powerful in the U.P. government.
It contended that the Centre was in favour of a CBI probe, but the State is proving to be an obstacle.
“Our ordering of CBI investigation cannot be done as a matter of routine… You did not even deem to approach the State with your request,” Justice Roy said.
The Bench further observed that whether an investigation should be transferred from the State Police to the CBI probe is primarily decided by the State government concerned and not the Centre.