Telangana HC raps cops for blocking CAA protests

Do you think that courts don’t have any work: Justice Vinod.

Hyderabad: Irked at being flooded by cases seeking judicial intervention after police permission for public gatherings and protests had been denied, the Telangana High Court on Wednesday told the principal secretary of the state home department and the director general of police (DIG) to frame guidelines to accord the permissions.

Hearing a petition by Raza-E-Illahi Foundation, urging the court to give directions to the Hyderabad Police Commissioner to accord permission for a Mushaira programme to protest against the Citizens Amendment Act, Justice Tadakamalla Vinod Kumar expressed displeasure at the police sitting on such applications seeking permission.

“A number of similar cases have been filed for several months now, challenging the delay of decision on the applications by the police. Why are you adopting this attitude so that the applicants have to approach the court for its intervention? Do you think that the courts don’t have any work? We have lots of work and we are not here only to deal with such cases,” Justice Vinod Kumar told the police.

He asked the home department and DGP to frame guidelines for according permission for holding gatherings and staging protests. “Frame the guidelines with a broad framework and instruct your officers to accept or reject the applications by following those guidelines. But, the reasons should be mentioned if the application is rejected,” the judge said.

In a similar case, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy issued notices to the principal secretary of the state home department, the DIG and the Commissioners of Police of Hyderabad and

Cyberabad, directing them to respond to charges against the police of not granting permission to hold protests.

The bench was dealing with a PIL filed by retired senior IPS officer Md. Shaffiquzzaman, and another retired employee, seeking direction to both Commissioners of Police to furnish the number of applications filed by various political parties, organisations and individuals seeking permission to hold peaceful rallies, dharnas, meetings in protest of CAA and NRC during the months of December 2019 and January 2020.

The petitioners contended that the police cannot restrain a citizen from exercising her or his right, by not according permission and the people of this country have a right to demonstrate and disseminate their opinion.

“The Indian Police Act, 1861, and the Hyderabad City Police Act, 1348F provide for regulation of the public assembly or procession and Section 30 of the Indian Police Act, 1861 and Section 22 of the Hyderabad City Police Act, 1348 F clearly envisage that permission should be accorded for peaceful assembly or procession. Apart from the above rules existing, the police are denying permission to express peaceful dissent in utter violation of the laws in vogue,” the petitioners submitted.

Directing the official respondents to reply to the above contentions, the court adjourned the case for three weeks.

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