How can Ruling Party seek Permission for Protest amid sec 144 Prohibition, HC asks AAP

The Delhi High Court asked the AAP on Friday how a “ruling” political party could seek permission to hold a protest in the national capital when there was a prohibitory order in force against gatherings in view of ongoing farmers’ protests.

Justice Subramonium Prasad, while hearing the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) petition challenging the police’s refusal to allow it to hold a “peaceful protest” of 800 people at Jantar Mantar on February 25 in relation to allegedly inflated water bills, said if the permission is granted to the party, a floodgate of other such applications will open.

“When P2 (an order under section 144 of the CrPC) is there, how can a ruling party come (for permission)? P2 is there and you, as the government or as a party which is the government, (permission) cannot be granted,” the judge said.

“If it is permitted for you, there will be an opening of floodgates,” he added.

The senior counsel appearing in the matter on the petitioner’s behalf said even after the section 144 order, thousands of people were allowed to hold gatherings and permission was also granted to a political party with a “much larger fanfare”.

“We are going to have it on Sunday, within the confined area, a peaceful protest with only 800 people,” the senior lawyer said.

“Certain restrictions are in place to circumvent the movement from borders. So this is not going to happen at any cost…. We are not going to agitate anything for these organisations,” he added.

Also Read

The AAP’s counsel, however, withdrew the petition after the court said it would grant time till Monday to the police’s counsel for taking instructions.

Earlier this month, the AAP had said it would launch protests against inflated water bills and officials obstructing its proposed one-time settlement scheme aimed at addressing the issue.

It had claimed that the Delhi government’s one-time settlement scheme for redressing faulty water bills hit a roadblock with the urban development secretary refusing to present the proposal before the Council of Ministers.

In the petition, the AAP had said the Delhi Police had “erroneously and arbitrarily” declined its request to hold a peaceful protest at Jantar Mantar on February 25.

It had said the police’s refusal was in violation of the right to protest, which is guaranteed under Article 19(1)(b) of the Constitution.

“To perform a peaceful protest on 25.02.2024 at Jantar Mantar, (petitioner) had requested permission by letter dated 17.02.2024 from the Deputy Commissioner of Police, New Delhi, wherein it had submitted that the said protest will be attended by the Hon’ble chief minister of Delhi, ministers of the Delhi government and MLAs of the Aam Aadmi Party with a gathering of around 800,” the plea filed through lawyer Rajat Bhardwaj had said.

“It is the duty of the constitutional court to protect the valuable fundamental right of the citizens, which is an essential part of democracy and cannot be taken away by the probationary order issued under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. It is the right of the petitioner to hold a peaceful demonstration to air the grievance and to raise their voice against the illegal acts of the executive,” it had stated.

Related Articles

Latest Articles