Kerala High Court seeks State Government response on plea against arrest of protestors waving black flags

The Court issued notice to the Kerala government and the District Police Complaint Authority on the PIL to declare that the arrest/detention of persons for protesting with black flags is illegal and unconstitutional.
Pinarayi Vijayan
Pinarayi VijayanFacebook

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday sought the response of the State government to a public interest litigation (PIL) petition challenging the arrest and detention of persons for protesting against the Chief Minister using black flags [Sam Joseph v State of Kerala].

A division bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly issued notice to the Kerala government and the District Police Complaint Authority.

The case stems from a protest against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan that took place on June 11 in Ernakulam District.

Police officers allegedly detained some persons and took two transgender persons into custody for wearing black clothes after they were spotted close to where Chief Minister was speaking.

The PIL before the court sought compensation for the two individuals.

"Make a declaration to the effect that the arrest and detention for waving black flags in protest is per see illegal and unconstitutional and direct the State Government to grant adequate compensation for the persons booked for waving black flag in front of the Chief Minister and Ministers in protests," the prayer in the plea said.

Moreover, the petitioner contended that in a country where burning effigies of political leaders did not constitute a criminal offence, it makes no sense that a simple protest by waving black flags can prompt police officers to arrest even peaceful protestors.

Therefore, the petitioner sought orders to the competent authority under Section 110 (3) of the Kerala Police Act 2011, to conduct an inquiry into the professional misconduct of the officers concerned and taking action in accordance with law

He also sought for orders to procure the details of all the cases in which persons have been arrested and detained for waving black flags while protesting against ministers over the last 3 years.

[Read Order]

Sam Joseph v State of Kerala.pdf

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