Monday, March 4, 2024

High Court tells Delhi Police, MCD to consider permitting All India Muslim Mahapanchayat at Ramlila Ground on Dec 18

The Delhi High Court has asked the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the Delhi Police to consider the feasibility of holding the All India Muslim Mahapanchayat at Ramlila Ground on December 18.

The single-judge Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad on Friday directed the authorities to treat as a representation, the application given by Mission Save Constitution, an organisation founded by Advocate Mehmood Pracha, seeking permission for the public meeting on December 18.

The High Court passed the orders on a petition seeking direction to the authorities to act upon its request and grant NOC to organise the public meeting.

The organisation had filed an application on November 10, seeking permission for holding the Mahapanchayat on December 4. However, the MCD had submitted that the Ramlila Ground was not available for the said date and the same can be allotted subject to NOC from Delhi Police.

The Delhi Police contended that NOC was already given to the Maha Tyagi Seva Sansthan for organising a ‘Mahayagya for Vishwa Jan Kalyan’ at Ramlila Ground from December 3 to 15. Therefore, Ramlila Ground was not available for December 4, it added. 

The High Court said it was not going into the controversy as to whether the Maha Tyagi Seva Sansthan should have first approached the MCD and then the Police Authorities or as to whether the petitioner organisation should have first approached the Police Authorities and then the MCD.

The Counsel appearing for MSV contended that out of the dates given by MCD and Police Authorities, December 18 was most convenient for holding the Mahapanchayat.

The single-judge Bench then directed the authorities to treat the application given earlier by the petitioner as a representation for holding the public meeting on December 18. The High Court listed the matter for further hearing on November 28. 

Earlier on October 25, the single-judge Bench had refused to grant permission for holding of All India Muslim Mahapanchayat at Ramlila Maidan ground on October 29.

The petitioner organisation had contended that it was earlier granted permission by the Delhi Police for the event, however, the NoC was later withdrawn. 

The High Court upheld the Delhi Police’s decision to revoke the permission on the grounds that posters of the event had communal and religious overtones.

Even though the event has been styled as a platform for education of people, its posters did have communal overtones and it was being proposed to be held in the Old Delhi area, which was in any case not unknown to have communal clashes, noted the Court.

Justice Prasad noted that the period after the end of Shraadh till Diwali was extremely auspicious for people belonging to the Hindu Community as during this time, several festivals were celebrated. 

The opinion of local police officials that a communal situation may arise during the event proposed to be held on October 29 could not be termed as ‘fanciful,’ the Judge pointed out. 

He said the tenure of posters put up by the organisation showed that the event could have communal overtones and might increase communal tension in the Old Delhi area, which has witnessed communal tensions in the past.

The apprehension of the concerned area SHO could not be washed away by constitutional courts. Though there was freedom to raise voice, but the possibility of communal tension could not be ignored, added Justice Prasad.

The single-judge Bench clarified that once the festivals were over, the petitioner could approach the local authorities again, which may then consider the request afresh.

The organisation’s fresh plea for permission would be considered by the authorities on its own merits, subject to the organisation providing a list of speakers and an undertaking that the meeting would not cause any communal tension, the High Court observed.

The petitioner contended that it sought to initiate a series of events, starting from the event, for strengthening of all weaker sections, including Muslim and other minority communities like SCs, STs and OBCs. It further said that voices of all the ‘oppressed’ people would be raised in the meeting.

(Case title: Mission Save Constitution vs Union of India & Ors)


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