A day ahead of the ‘Chakka Jam’ protest announced by farmers, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed Punjab government that Unlock 4.0 guidelines related to ban on big gatherings should be strictly implemented in the state.
A division bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Avneesh Jhingan on Monday directed the Additional Advocate General, Punjab, to communicate the order to the state authorities, and to monitor the progress of implementation of court’s directions.
The HC issued the order while hearing a plea by one Mohit Kapoor, in which the petitioner said that 10 farmers organisations in Punjab have announced a protest by way of blocking the highways on September 15, 2020 for 2 hours — 12 AM to 2 PM.
The petitioner’s counsel, Senior Advocate Puneet Bali and Advocate Arun Gupta, have submitted that in a situation of an unprecedented challenge in the form of the pandemic and with the entire state machinery having been deployed to meet that challenge, if the proposed protest, which might bring in more than 2 lakh people, is allowed to take place, it will throw the entire administration out of gear.
Advocate Bali further referred to the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in Destruction of Public and Private Property vs State of Andhra Pradesh (2009), and thus prayed for necessary directions to Punjab to take adequate measures to prevent the protest on the scale on which it has been announced.
The lawyer also mentioned about the guidelines issued by the Department of Home Affairs and Justice, government of Punjab on the Unlock 4.0 measures which are to be implemented between September 1 and September 30, as per which “Section 144 of the CrPC be invoked and orders be issued to prohibit all social, political, religious gatherings, protests and demonstrations throughout the state. …Strict action be taken against the organisers and main participants for violation of orders under Section 144 of CrPC.”
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