On Friday, the High Court of Delhi issued notice to Delhi Police on Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders’ pleas against an order denying them permission to stage a peaceful protest outside the residences of Union Home Minister Amit Shah & Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.
A single-Judge bench of Justice Navin Chawla asked the Delhi Police to file a reply on the petitions filed by AAP MLAs & listed the matter for further hearing on Jan 14, 2021.
The bench also recorded the police’s submission that as per the Delhi Disaster Management Authority order, political activities in Delhi are prohibited till Dec 31, 2020, & thus the permission to hold a protest cannot be granted.
Advocate Gautam Narayan, appearing for Delhi Police, exhibited various orders passed by the authorities from time to time & said as per instruction received by him, no political gathering on any kind is permissible & henceforth, Delhi Police has rejected it.
He also said the prohibition applies across the city & not just one road.
Citing Apex Court Judgement to justify the Delhi Police decision, he said there are only 2 designated spots for protests & anything apart from Jantar Mantar & Ramlila Maidan is not permissible for holding protests.
Narayan said that “Apart from these two, there cannot be any protest in any residential area. That is our understanding”.
Appearing for AAP leaders, advocate Satvik Verma urged the Delhi HC to set aside Delhi Police order. Varma said there are 2 pleas for 2 requests. One is for outside the house of the minister & other is for outside the house of the Lieutenant Governor, he said.
The pleas sought directions to reconsider & allow the petitioners’ request for grant of permission to hold peaceful protest & sitting dharna at the indicated area outside the residence of the Home Minister of India & accordingly to make necessary arrangements for the peaceful protest & ‘dharna pradarshan’ at the indicated area on similar lines as being permitted outside the residence of Chief Minister of Delhi.
The leaders sought to quash & set aside the Order dated Dec 12 issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, New Delhi District vide which petitioner’s request has been rejected.
They told the Court that they intended to hold a peaceful protest, demonstration & dharna pradarshan outside the residence of Amit Shah in order to voice the alleged misappropriation of funds by BJP-led North Delhi Municipal Corporation amounting to more than Rs 2,500 crores, which it said is a serious concern of the citizens of NCT of Delhi.
The plea stated that “That the impugned order & actions of the respondents, (who are obligated to be politically neutral as holding a statutory post), are further highly unfair, biased, hypocrite, partial, arbitrary & extremely politically motivated, & raises serious questions upon their integrity, commitment & responsibilities obligated towards the citizens of this largest democracy in the world”.
It said the police was suitably able to allow the request of Councillors of BJP for protest & dharna pradarshan before the residence of CM of Delhi, which is still continuing, but on the other hand, they conclude that petitioner’s request cannot be acceded to.