In a relief to Hardik Patel, the Rajasthan High Court on Friday allowed the Patidar agitation leader to move within Udaipur, the place of his temporary residence, while directing him to not take “undue advantage of liberty or misuse liberty”. The HC did not find the actions of the Rajasthan police to be illegal and held they were required to maintain law and order in Udaipur, where Hardik has been staying since being granted bail by the Gujarat High Court.
While allowing Hardik to move within Udaipur, the HC bench comprising Justice G R Moolchandani and Justice G K Vyas held that “if the Gujarat HC is of the opinion that the petitioner can disturb the peace of Gujarat then obviously when…he is residing in..Rajasthan, more specifically in Udaipur for six months, he may disturb the peace of the state of Rajasthan”.
“Therefore it is the duty of the state of Rajasthan to take care of all the facts and circumstances created by the petitioner in Gujarat to maintain law and order…to keep peace in…Rajasthan,” the order said.
“…till expiry of six months period, if the petitioner wants to go outside…Udaipur, he should seek permission from Gujarat High Court. The police authorities of Udaipur are directed to take appropriate action in compliance of the order passed by Gujarat High Court to maintain law and order…in Udaipur city and should not put any restriction contrary to law and permit the petitioner to go as per his desire in the local territory of Udaipur city,” it said.
The bench said it was “satisfied that the petitioner was not in illegal confinement or in house arrest (and) no illegal conditions are imposed upon him so as to restrain him to enjoy freedom”. “…but at the same time we are of the opinion that every citizen of India can enjoy fundamental rights granted by the constitution of India, and every citizen is duty bound to maintain law and order…and peace of the state where he resides,” the order read.
On August 22, Hardik’s lawyers had filed a Habeas Corpus petition, accusing the Rajasthan police of wrongly and illegally confining Hardik by placing him under house arrest at his temporary residence in Udaipur. The Rajasthan government, DGP and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Udaipur had been named respondents in the petition.
“Police officials wrongly and deliberately with a malafide intention misinterpreted the conditions imposed upon the petitioner in the judgment dated 8.7.2016 by the Hon’ble Gujarat High Court,” the petition had argued. Hardik has been living at a Congress leader’s house in Udaipur’s Srinath Nagar locality after being released on bail by the Gujarat High Court in July.
On July 20, the Udaipur IG had summoned him and ordered him to not leave his temporary residence without obtaining prior permission from the Gujarat High Court. The petition pleaded that “despite the Hon’ble Gujarat High Court having released him on bail and granted him liberty but the above stated police officers have blocked his freedom, restrained his free movements”. Hardik’s lawyer Rafik Lokhandwala said the order would be challenged in the Supreme Court.