The Goa bench of Bombay High Court on Monday issued notices to the Civil Aviation Ministry Secretary and others in connection with BJP president Amit Shah’s public meeting held at the Dabolim Airport in Goa on July 1. The bench, comprising of Justice F M Reis and Justice Nutan Sardessai, was acting upon a petition filed by activist Aires Rodrigues who alleged the “unlawful assembly” in the airport complex — a civil airport operating out of military airbase INS Hansa — was a blatant misuse of power.
Shah, who was on a two-day visit to the state, was received at the airport by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Union minister Sripad Naik. On arrival, he gave a 15-minute speech on GST from an makeshift podium.
“The petitioner seeks to ensure that there is no legal infringement and/or abdication of duty within the legal framework by which a government and/or authorities are permitted to allow high-handed violation of law,” read the petition filed by Rodrigues, a high court advocate. He described the event as one with a “carpeted podium, a dozen chairs for dignitaries and a sound system”. Read more here.
In his petition, Rodrigues made the Civil Aviation Ministry, the Director of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Deputy Commandant of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) respondents; all of whom refused to register his plea for a legal probe.
“I will take this to the end. We need an answer on the procedure they followed. We need a full inquiry to fix responsibility on the organisers and participants including Amit shah,” Rodrigues said. He said this was likely the first time in history a public meeting was organised by a political party within the high security precincts of an airport.
The BJP, which initially claimed it had received necessary permission to hold the meeting which was “not inside the facility”, later said it was “not a planned meeting”, as Shah’s arrival led to a spontaneous gathering of people.
Opposition parties, Congress and AAP, had demanded that an inquiry into the incident as well. AICC secretary Girish Chodonkar said it was “complete abuse of power by the power-intoxicated BJP”.
(With inputs from PTI)