Court to police: Explain reason for curfew order during AAP protest

A city court on Saturday directed the Delhi Police to “explain the circumstances” under which prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC was imposed in Lutyens’ Delhi in August 2012,which was allegedly violated by Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) members during their protest.

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Published:March 31, 2013 1:18 am

A city court on Saturday directed the Delhi Police to “explain the circumstances” under which prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC was imposed in Lutyens’ Delhi in August 2012,which was allegedly violated by Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) members during their protest.

The order by Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja came during proceedings in a case against AAP leaders Arvind Kejriwal,Manish Sisodia,Prashant Bhushan and 22 others. They have been charged with violation of curfew,rioting,causing damage to public property and other offences.

The Delhi Police filed three cases against the activists and other protesters for taking part in a march on August 26 from Jantar Mantar to the residences of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the then BJP Chief Nitin Gadkari.

The activists had filed a petition to be discharged from the charges,alleging that police had “illegally” imposed Section 144 and that the charges of rioting and damage to property were “fabricated” since it was a “peaceful protest”.

The only evidence placed along with the chargesheet is the order passed by ACP Bhoop Singh on August 6,2012,” M M Thareja said.

The accused had also asked the court for further investigation into the incident.

On Saturday,the court ordered the SHO of the Tughlak Road police station to submit a report on the incident within eight weeks.

The court also said the Supreme Court and the High Court have “been critical about misuse of power under Section 144 by the Delhi Police”.

The court also asked the police to obtain video footage of the entire incident from the media,after the accused raised objection to the police claim that they did not have the footage of the “particular time” when the protest allegedly turned violent.

“The SHO shall endeavour to obtain video recorded by the TV channels who were following the accused citizens on August 26,” the court said.

It also referred to a statement made by the investigating officer of the case that police had video recorded the incident and it was not “filed along with the chargesheet because it did not pertain to the point at which the offences had been committed”.

The court asked the SHO to obtain video footage available with the Delhi Police in “order to test the veracity of the statement made by the investigating officer and the ocular evidence filed along with the charge sheet” against the accused in the three cases.

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