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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Peaceful agitation a fundamental right for citizens in a democracy: Mumbai court

A magistrate’s court in it's order acquitted five women booked for blocking the Eastern Freeway due to lack of water supply in their area.

Written by Sadaf Modak | Mumbai |
April 22, 2022 9:52:52 pm
Fenil Goyani, Fenil Goyani sentenced to death, who is Fenil Goyani, Grishma Vekariya murder case, Gujarat court, Gujarat news, surat, Indian expressPublic prosecutor Nayan Sukhadwala said the court relied on video footage of the incident, witness accounts and other circumstantial evidence to arrive at its decision.(Representational)

A magistrate’s court in a recent order said that in a democratic country peaceful agitation is the fundamental right of a citizen while acquitting five women booked for blocking the Eastern Freeway due to lack of water supply in their area.

The women, including two senior citizens, were arrested by the RCF police station in 2015 on charges of unlawful assembly, wrongful restraint of the Indian Penal Code.

“In a democratic country, making peaceful agitation is a fundamental right of citizens. The women were making agitation as there was no water supply in their area for some days. They were sent by the police to their home by giving an understanding. Therefore, there was no reason for the police to register F.I.R. against them and subsequently arrest them,” the court said.

On September 18, 2015, over 30-40 women had assembled at the Eastern Freeway at Chembur and blocked traffic as a means of protesting the lack of water supply in their area.

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Police told them that a prohibition order restricted assembly of more than five persons at a time and they should disperse. The women refused, following which they were moved by force. Later, an FIR was filed against them.

Among the witnesses examined were seven police officials and two panch witnesses who turned hostile. The court said that police officials who deposed were interested witnesses and not a single independent witness had deposed supporting the prosecution’s case.

The court also said that while 30-40 women had participated in the agitation, only one was arrested on that day and four others were arrested later.

The court also noted that the FIR was filed five hours after the incident which was not explained by the police creating doubt over the genuineness of the action taken.

It also said that proceedings against others named as absconding accused be stopped as no steps were taken to secure their presence.

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