Organisation misled authorities while seeking nod to hold event at Ramlila Maidan, Delhi Police tells HC

The police on Friday told the Delhi High Court that an organisation, which claims to be working for creating awareness among the masses about their constitutional rights, has misled authorities while applying for permission to hold a meeting of around 10,000 people at Ramlila Maidan later this month.

The police said while the permission was initially granted, it was later revoked on receiving several complaints from people of the locality that the proposed event appeared to be “communal”.

After hearing the submissions of the counsel for petitioner organisation Mission Save Constitution and Delhi Police, Justice Subramonium Prasad said he will pronounce the order on the petition on October 25.

Petitioner Mission Save Constitution said that after a series of meetings with officials of Delhi Police and taking several clearances, permission was granted for the meeting on October 29.

Later, the deputy commissioner of police (DCP) of Central Delhi district “unilaterally, in an arbitrary manner” revoked the permission, the plea said.

It said the petitioner seeks to initiate a series of events for strengthening all weaker sections beginning with minority communities followed by other communities like SC, ST, OBC, and in the meetings/panchayat voice of all the oppressed would be raised. This series is to be started with an event on October 29.

The counsel for the police said the petitioner sought nod for a meeting to educate people about their constitutional rights, so the permission was granted with a condition that no participant shall make provocative speeches which is prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.

However, the authorities later came to know about a pamphlet and there was a nomenclature given to the proposed meeting, that is, mahapanchayat.

“They were not fair to the department when they applied for permission. They ought to have applied saying that this is a mahapanchayat which is taking place. Possibly the department would have better information then to consider and decide whether permission can be given or not,” the police’s counsel said.

The counsel for the petitioner said the idea for seeking a no-objection certificate (NOC) is to make the police aware about how many people are coming and it was disclosed to them.

He said there was nothing offensive or communal about the language used in the poster which can be in breach of any of the conditions and that they were ready to modify the poster and change the date, if the police want so.

The petition sought a direction for calling for the October 16 letter issued by the DCP (Central) and set it aside. It also sought a direction to the authorities to permit the organisation to hold the event scheduled for October 29.

While cancelling the permission earlier granted for holding the meeting, the letter issued by the DCP said in view of representations from public persons, the matter has been re-assessed and it has surfaced that the theme of the event is different from what was projected by the organiser.

“The course of re-assessment has further disclosed that the language written on the posters available on social media regarding the rally shows that the agenda of the event appears to be communal. There is strong apprehension that holding of such an event during festive season and at such a sensitive place may spread communal hatred and dent the peace and tranquillity of the area,” the letter said.

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It added that amid “tension in the Arab countries due to ongoing war between Israel and Hamas”, such a meeting may lead to a law and order situation and spoil the atmosphere of old Delhi where mixed populations live together.

The letter said keeping in view the concealment of facts by the organiser about the nature of the meeting or event, the permission is revoked and cancelled with immediate effect in the interest of law and order of the area.

The respondents have made “unfounded allegations, and have given unreasonable and irrelevant grounds for cancellation of the permission”, the petition, filed through advocates Jatin Bhatt and Harshit Gahlot, said.

It said the organisation, whose national convenor is advocate Mehmood Pracha, works to enlighten and create awareness among the masses, especially the depressed classes, about their rights as enshrined in the Constitution, and for utilising the constitutional and legal provisions for alleviation of the distress and suffering of such classes.

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