SC declines urgent hearing on dera’s plea
The Supreme Court today saw no urgency for preponing the hearing of the Dera Sacha Sauda petition seeking protection to its over 150 institutions in 13 states, particularly in Punjab, after the deadline of the Akal Takht for their closure had expired on May 27.
Observing that the closure order was not issued by any government authority but was by a religious body, how could a writ of mandamus be issued against it, a Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and D.K. Jain asked, making it clear that in this background it saw no urgency in putting up the case for an early hearing.
The court on Friday had fixed June 4 for hearing of the petition of the dera and a PIL on the issue in spite of frantic efforts by Sacha Sauda’s counsel V.K. Ohri to prepone the date citing a possible threat to its institutions in Punjab and some other states.
When Ohri today made a fresh mention of the petition for fixing an earlier date, the court pointedly asked him whether the order for closure of the deras had been issued by any government authority. If it was not so, how could the court’s jurisdiction be invoked under Article 32.
The court said since it had already fixed the date for hearing, the matter would be considered on June 4 only. The Bench on Friday had in uncertain terms said that such controversial issues should better be left for decision by the political class at the government level rather than rushing to the courts.
Dera Sacha Sauda in its petition, moved by its trustee and vice-chairman Abhijit Bhagat and two other functionaries, had said that the threat for closure of its institutions by the Akal Takht was real and it was held in violation of the fundamental right to practice a faith by its followers.