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Delhi Police tells Delhi HC: AAP MLAs Raghav Chadha, Atishi can’t hold protest outside Amit Shah’s house

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The Delhi Police has informed the Delhi High Court that AAP MLAs Raghav Chadha and Atishi Marlena cannot be allowed to hold a protest outside the residence of Home Minister Amit Shah and Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal as the political gathering is prohibited as per the orders of the Delhi Disaster Management Act (DDMA) till January 31, 2021.

It further said in view of the sensitive nature of the area which is residence of the dignitaries, Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is imposed prohibiting protests and demonstrations in the Central Delhi area. 

The reply has been filed in the petitions filed by Chadha and Atishi, who want to hold a peaceful protest in order to voice the misappropriation of funds by the BJP-led North Delhi Municipal Corporation amounting to more than Rs 2,500 crore, which is a serious concern of the citizens of NCT of Delhi, according to the petitioners. 

The present matter was listed today before Justice Prathiba M. Singh but no hearing took place as the counsel for police had sought an adjournment as the proceedings were to be held in a physical court.

In its affidavit, the police has also said that protests in the national capital can only be held at two locations, Jantar Mantar and Ramlila Maidan, which are designated for the purpose and nowhere else.

The Police has also said in its affidavit that in view of the DDMA notification of September last year, which was extended from time to time and now stands extended till January 31, no political gathering of any number of persons is permitted in the national capital. 

The Delhi Police in their affidavit has cited the Supreme Court judgment in Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan Vs Union of India, (2018) 17 SCC 324 wherein the Court, while upholding the right of citizens to hold peaceful protests and demonstrations under Articles 19(1)(a) and 19(1)(b) of the Constitution, had directed the Commissioner of Police to frame appropriate guidelines for regulation of protests and demonstrations. 

“It is pertinent to note that the Hon’ble Court has unequivocally held that no protest and demonstration can be held outside the residence of any signatory,” 

the affidavit reads. 

The Delhi High Court had on December 18, 2020, sought the response of Delhi Police on a plea by the AAP MLAs challenging the Delhi Police decision denying them permission to hold a peaceful protest outside the residences of Shah and Baijal respectively.

During the hearing on December 18, the counsel for the AAP MLAs contended that a protest should be allowed in a guarded manner in the residential area. He cited the order passed by the Supreme Court in the pleas against the farmers’ protest wherein the CJI categorically had observed, “One thing we will make it clear. We recognize the fundamental right to protest against a law. But that cannot affect other fundamental rights and right to life of others.”

Delhi High Court Justice Navin Chawla had asked the respondents which are the prohibited activities according to the order of MHA? 

Advocate Gautam Narayan, appearing for Delhi Police, had submitted that the police should have to act according to the DDMA order. Certain activities including political activities are prohibited till December 31, 2021, according to the DDMA order of September 30, 2020. Activities such as political rallies etc. are prohibited. In Delhi, no political activity of any kind is permissible. Therefore the rejection was based on the DDMA order, he had said. 

He had further contended that this prohibition should be across the state and not remain to Jantar Mantar, Ramlila Maidan at all. Apart from this, protests are not being allowed at no other place including residential areas.

Also ReadDelhi HC allows 11 benches, subordinate courts to start physical hearings on alternate days from January 18

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