A retired District Superintendent of Police has filed a PIL in the Kerala High Court, seeking regulation of the Kerala leg of Bharat Jodo Yatra, started by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
The petitioner, who is also a lawyer practicing before the High Court, said that the campaign was likely to cause traffic jams on major roads.
He contended that Rahul and those accompanying him were occupying the entire breadth of public roads, preventing the free flow of traffic and restricting the movement of pedestrians. This further lead to massive jams, as the movement of the public and vehicles was totally blocked for hours together, he added.
As per the plea, a request had been sent to the State Police Headquarters by the petitioner to take immediate steps for alleviating the hardship suffered by the general public arising out of the yatra.
The plea cited Section 4 of the Kerala Public Ways (Restriction of Assemblies and Procession) Act 2011, stating that it dealt with the prohibition of obstruction on public ways.
It further said that as per sub section (1) of Section 4, Section 5 of the Kerala Public Ways (Restriction of Assemblies and Procession) Act, 2011 authorised the District Police Chief to impose reasonable restrictions on the right of obstructed movement of public along the public ways.
Further, the state police was bound to collect fees from the licensees for deploying enough personnel to cover the Yatra, the petitioner pointed out.
He sought orders from the High Court to permit the participants of the Yatra to occupy only half the road and leave the other half for free movement of vehicles and the public.
The Congress campaign was flagged off from Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari on September 7. It will cover the whole country from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, during which, prominent leaders of the grand old party, besides locals, are expected to join the march.
Through this padyatra (journey on foot), Rahul Gandhi and fellow padyatris will cover a distance of 3,570 km in 150 days. the campaign started from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7 and will conclude in Jammu and Kashmir.
The padyatris entered Kerala on September 10. They will reach seven districts over a period of 19 days and cover 450 km, before entering Karnataka on October 1.
Case title: Advocate Vijayan K vs State of Kerala & Ors