THE DELHI High Court Friday said authorities, including the Delhi Police, need to pass orders asking mayors and councillors of civic bodies who are on protest outside the residence of CM Arvind Kejriwal to vacate the spot, and take action in accordance with the law in case they do not comply.
The court also said that if the prohibitory order under Section 144 of the CrPC is applicable to the Lt Governor’s residence, it will apply to the nearby residence of the CM too. AAP MLA Atishi was recently stopped by police while going to protest outside the L-G’s residence.
While the Delhi Police had earlier informed the court that the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has prohibited all kinds of dharnas in the national capital in light of the Covid pandemic and that Section 144 of the CrPC is also in effect in the Civil Lines area, it also submitted that the “police has its limitations” when it comes to elected representatives and will face “rough end of the stick” if it were to take some kind of action. The submission was made in a contempt case filed by Civil Lines Residents Association alleging inaction against those protesting outside the CM’s residence at Flagstaff Road.
“Since the DDMA prohibits any kind of a dharna or a procession, you will have to then shift them … or rather evict them. An incorrect form of signal will go if nothing happens,” observed Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, adding that the District Magistrate under the Disaster Management Act will have to issue an order asking them to vacate, to ensure compliance of the DDMA order.
Regarding the promulgation of prohibitory orders under CrPC Section 144 in Civil Lines area, the court said, “How far is the L-G house from the CM’s house? The distance I don’t think is more than a kilometre”. When the counsel representing the police requested the court to consider observing it in the order that further action should be taken in accordance with law, Justice Sachdeva said, “You want to fire from my shoulder?”
Adjourning the matter for Monday, the court asked the authorities to take appropriate steps in accordance with the orders issued by the DDMA and the provisions of CrPC Section 144 in the area.
Delhi Police had earlier told the court that they were making sincere efforts to shift them from the area and have also given them copies of the order passed by the DDMA and apprised them about other orders, including the one which prohibits protests inside residential areas. However, the police added that their requests were not complied with but efforts are on to implement the orders.
Meanwhile, the single-judge bench of Justice Navin Chawla Friday sought a reply from the Delhi Police in petitions filed by AAP leaders Atishi and Raghav Chadha against the denial of permission to protest outside the residence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Lt Governor Anil Baijal. During the hearing, Delhi Police told the court that the DDMA order does not permit any political activity anywhere in the national capital until December 31.
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