The Gujarat High Court on Friday issued notice to the state government through its home department, the city police commissioner and inspector of Gaikwad Haveli police station, over refusing permission for a public gathering to protest the new citizenship law.
After the Gaikwad Haveli police refused permission to hold the event scheduled on January 19, the organisers challenged the decision in the Gujarat High Court on Friday, following which the court issued notices. The respondent parties are expected to reply by January 23.
Police permission is necessitated for public gatherings in the city, owing to repeated and continuous imposition of CrPC section 144 read with provisions under the Gujarat Police Act.
City-based activists Mudita Vidrohi and Mujahid Nafees filed a petition in the HC earlier this week, seeking court’s intervention over police inaction on an application requesting permission for a public gathering. The application was filed at the police station on January 5. The petition was withdrawn on January 13 after the court directed the police to decide on the application. However, on January 15, police rejected the application, after which the organisers filed a fresh petition.
The latest petition sought to set aside and quash the police decision on January 15 as “arbitrary, collusive and illegal”. Alleging “double standards” in granting permission for protests, the petitioners submitted through their advocate KR Koshti that the ruling party in the state (BJP) took out 62 rallies in support of CAA for which permission was sought and received on the same date. “…permission for all the 62 rallies were given despite restrictions and orders under section 144 CrPC being operative. Additionally, the main opposition in the Gujarat State Assembly (INC) also held a rally in the name of Samvidhan Bachao Kooch on 28.12.2019, despite restrictions…,” they said.
Petitioner Nafees told The Indian Express, “Political parties are being given permission while members of the civil society are not, despite carry- ing out peaceful protests in the past. Our application before the police was rejected on the ground that the gathering will disrupt traffic as the venue is a densely populated area.” The protest was planned on Sunday from Jamalpur Darwaza to Khamasa, although advocate Koshti submitted before the court that the petitioners are open to postponing the earlier scheduled date of the protest.
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