Madras HC sets aside police order denying permission for Anti-CAA protest meet

Today the Madras High Court has passed an order in favour of the applicant to the case challenged again The Superintendent of Police, Trichy District. Where the court has held that the right to hold public meeting falls under Article 19(1) (b) of the Indian Constitution and that state cannot impose unreasonable restrictions.

Brief Facts:  

It was first challenged by the applicant Mr. Jamal Mohamed, who has filed a case against The Superintendent of Police, Trichy District and The Inspector of Police, Enamkulathur Police Station, Trichy District. The applicant and group filed an application granting permission for a public protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019. The Police have denied the application as the State Government has imposed a ban on public gatherings as to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The applicant has filed this in front of the Madras High court. Hon’ble Justice G.R. Swaminathan has passed an order, which is however refraining from granting the permission to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 but has made a statement saying “Therefore, even while setting aside the impugned order, I am not in a position to direct the first respondent to permit holding of the event on 20.023.2020. The jurisdictional Deputy Superintendent of Police, will issue proceedings permitting holding of the vent at the petition mentioned site immediately after the ban issued the Government in the wake of novel coronavirus pandemic is lifted”.[i]  

Key Features:

1. Hon’ble Justice G.R. Swaminathan has also referred to the recent address presented by the Hon’ble Justice D.Y. Chandrachud of Supreme Court of India relates to importance of dissent in growth of democracy.

2. A statement was made by Hon’ble G.R. Swaminathan who’s words were “The right to hold public meetings is traceable to Article 19(1) (a) and 19(1) (b) of the Constitution of India. These provisions guarantee to all the citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression and to assemble peaceably and without arms”.[ii]

3. The Judgment was also referred to (Himat Lal K. Shah Vs. Commissioner of Police) 1 SCC 277 (1973)[iii], this was a judgment given by the Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court of India, stating that holding of public meetings are in relation with Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India and the state cannot impose unreasonable restrictions.

4. Hon’ble Justice G.R. Swaminathan has passed an order saying that he is not in a position to grant the permission for the protest, but has directed the jurisdictional Deputy Superintendent of Police to grant the permission immediately after the ban is lifted off by the State Government which was imposed in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Conclusion:

The Constitution of India has granted every citizen their right to freedom of speech and expression with the help of Articles 19(1) (a) and 19(1) (b). The Applicant’s permission which was previously not accepted by the Police authorities was because of the State Government’s order of imposing ban on any public gathering, it was made clear to the applicant in the judgment passed by the Madras High Court that it was not in the position to grant permission for the protest because of the ban imposed, and has given responsibility to the jurisdictional police authority to grant one immediately after the ban is lifted off. I t was once again made clear to the citizens that Articles 19(1) (a) and  19(1) (b) of the Indian Constitution is to protect the right to freedom of speech and expression of every citizen. Right to dissent as mentioned by Hon’ble Justice D.Y. Chandrachud of Supreme Court of India is also an epic factor in protecting these rights and which will also strengthen the democracy, which was seen in the decided case law (Kedar Nath Singh Vs. State of Bihar)[iv].

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

End Notes:

[i] Livelaw News Network, Madras HC Sets Aside Police Order Denying Permission For Anti-CAA Protest Meet [Read Order] Live Law (2020), https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/madras-hc-sets-aside-police-order-denying-permission-for-anti-caa-protest-meet-154078 (last visited Mar 19, 2020).

[ii] Livelaw News Network, Madras HC Sets Aside Police Order Denying Permission For Anti-CAA Protest Meet [Read Order] Live Law (2020), https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/madras-hc-sets-aside-police-order-denying-permission-for-anti-caa-protest-meet-154078 (last visited Mar 19, 2020).

[iii] Livelaw News Network, Madras HC Sets Aside Police Order Denying Permission For Anti-CAA Protest Meet [Read Order] Live Law (2020), https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/madras-hc-sets-aside-police-order-denying-permission-for-anti-caa-protest-meet-154078 (last visited Mar 19, 2020).

[iv] Kedar Nath Singh vs State Of Bihar on 20 January, 1962, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/111867/ (last visited Mar 19, 2020).

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