The Karnataka High Court today heard a batch of petitions seeking the quashing of the imposition of Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in Bangalore.
Prohibitory orders were passed by the state government on December 18, in the wake of protests across the state against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. The imposition of Section 144, however, did not deter people from turning up in large numbers to voice their dissent against the controversial legislation.
Petitions were filed in the Karnataka High Court by Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Rajeev Gowda, Member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, Sowmya Reddy, and others. The petitions have prayed for quashing of the order passed by the state government on December 18.
When the matter was taken up today, Chief Justice Abhay S Oka posed a volley of questions to Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi, appearing for the state government.
Taking note of the fact that permissions were initially granted to protestors before the prohibitory orders were passed, Justice Oka asked,
“When permission for carrying out protests was given to certain organisations, then how can it be cancelled overnight?
Can a sweeping order under Section 144 cancel an already granted permission?”
The Chief Justice also put forth the following questions”
“Do you want to take school students to the police station?
Can state go under the assumption that every protest will disturb the peace?
Are you (state) going to ban each and every protest? How can you cancel permission of a previously granted order?”
In response, AG Navadgi said that he needed time to take instructions from the government. The Court allowed the same, and posted the matter for 4 PM today.