A day after the Delhi Police asked the Civil Lines SDM to withdraw order banning public meetings and protest near the Chief Minister’s residence, the AAP government on Friday sought legal opinion from its Law Department.
The party argued that a sub-divisional magistrate has the power to issue such order under the CrPC. A government official said that a Ministry of Home Affairs 1978 notification gave Delhi Police power to issue prohibitory order but the SDM also enjoys concurrent power under Section 144 of the CrPC.
“In 1978, the Centre had given power to Delhi Police to issue prohibitory order but no order was subsequently issued to prevent SDM from doing so,” a government spokesperson said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Madhur Verma wrote a letter to SDM B K Jha yesterday asking him to withdraw the order banning public meetings and protest near Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence in Civil Lines pointing out that it was “unnecessary interference” in police’s work.
“The Delhi government has forwarded the DCP’s letter to the Law Department and asked it to give legal opinion on this matter,” the government spokesperson said.
Thursday Lt Governor Najeeb Jung said the SDM’s order was “illegal” and action would be taken against him. Verma, the officer whose North Delhi police district covers Chief Minister’s residence, had said the order issued by the Civil Lines SDM on August 2 is in violation of Ministry of Home Affairs’ order, dated July 1, 1978.
According to the MHA order, powers and duties of Executive Magistrate and District Magistrate under section 144 CrPC in Delhi are given to Commissioner of Delhi Police, he said.
Slamming the AAP government, the BJP said it seems the ban has been imposed through SDM as Kejriwal is in no mood to “tolerate” any democratic protest against him.
Ruling AAP, however asked who will take responsibility if there is any untoward incident like the mob getting violent. While issuing the prohibitory order under Section 144 of CrPC, the SDM had argued the ban was needed to “prevent public nuisance, obstruction to traffic and persons, danger to human lives or safety and public property”.