- Apprentice Lawyer
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday directed police protection to a BJP leader after certain statements attributed to him in relation to the farmers protests spurred certain persons to empty a trolley of cow dung at the gate to his house. (Tikshan Sood v. State of Punjab)
In this respect, a single-judge Bench of Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi iterated that the right to free speech and expression includes the right to protest peacefully, but that the right should not be used to violate the fundamental rights of others and indulge in criminal acts.
BJP leader Tikshan Sood’s supposed statements that the persons involved in the farmers protests had no knowledge of the laws in question and were going to Delhi for picnic had invited the ire of angry protesters who loaded a trolley of cow dung outside the gate of his house in retaliation.
Sood’s Counsel submitted in Court that his statements were being twisted by his political opponents and he never intended to hurt the sentiments of the protesting farmers.
By reason of the statements, the leader and his family were facing threats from persons who believed him to be against the ongoing kisan agitation, he contended. As a result, neither he nor his family members were able to leave their homes, and BJP workers and other visitors were not being allowed inside their locality, it was argued.
In this light, the leader sought protection for his family’s life, liberty and property.
The State assured the Court that protection was being duly provided and that appropriate steps would be taken. The Centre offered to make additional personnel available with the State government if it was needed.
At this the Bench declared,
“The state is under constitutional mandate to protect the life, liberty and property of every human being, be he a citizen or otherwise, against any harm by criminal acts constituting an offence punishable under the law in force committed by any person or group of persons for any cause whatsoever…”
Therefore, the Court directed the Punjab government to assess the danger to the petitioner and his family, and allow Sood' officers to guard him and his family when they left the house. Apart from this, a static guard is to keep guard outside the house and ensure only the petitioner, his family, and permitted visitors were allowed inside the house.
With this direction, the matter was posted for January 29.
Advocate Krishan Singh Dadwal represented Sood.
Punjab Additional Advocate General Inder Doabia appeared for the State, while Additional Solicitor General of India Satya Pal Jain, along with advocate Saigeeta Srivastava accepted notice on behalf of the Central government.