The Gujarat High Court on Thursday quashed an order of the Ahmedabad city police to extern a person, who is an accused in an FIR registered against a crowd protesting the National Register of Citizens and Citizenship Amendment Act (NRC & CAA) in 2019, from several districts.
Quashing the externment order against the person, identified as Mohammed Kaleem Siddiqui, the court observed that “a citizen cannot be subjected to externment for raising his grievance against the Government”.
The order against Siddiqui was passed by Assistant Commissioner of Police (‘A’ division) of Ahmedabad city on November 13, 2020, externing him from Ahmedabad (city and rural), Gandhinagar, Kheda and Mehsana districts for one year. Siddiqui had challenged the order before the High Court.
A bench of Justice Paresh Upadhyay passed an order quashing the order Thursday. In March this year, the court had stayed the execution of the externment order.
In its order quashing the externment order, the HC recorded that the petitioner was given a notice of externment considering two FIRs registered against him with Ramol and Rakhiyal police stations in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The order records that the externment order is based on four FIRs — two of which were not even referred to in the notice to Siddiqui.
“The externment order, therefore, needs to be set aside on this count alone… There are other factors as well, which further tilts the balance in favour of the petitioner,” the court observed.
The court then recorded that the petitioner was already acquitted in one of the two FIRs registered against him in 2018.
“So far the second FIR dated 19.12.2019 is concerned, it was against a crowd of unknown persons who were demonstrating against the policy of the Government qua NRC / CAA. The petitioner is stated to be one of the persons in the said crowd…Citizen can not be subjected to externment for raising his grievance against the Government. On this count also, the externment order needs to be set aside,” the court observed.