Protests have become a way of life in this State: Madras High Court takes critical note

Protests have become a way of life in this State: Madras High Court takes critical note

Meera Emmanuel

A plea for permission to conduct a protest against allegedly illegal arrests carried out by the police has prompted the Madras High Court to express its critical views on unwarranted protests and demonstrations.

While dismissing the plea, Justice N Anand Venkatesh observed,

“Protest and demonstration have become a way of life in this State. This Court has already stated that protest and demonstration have become a full time profession for many youngsters in this State.

There are issues for which people can protest and conduct demonstration. However, at the fall of the hat, protest is being called for and police protection is sought for. The police is already over burdened with their work and to make police to go and give protection in every place where protest is being held, will put additional burden on the police.” 

The Court proceeded to hold that it does not want to unwittingly encourage unwarranted protests. As stated in the order,

Even though, this Court was liberal in granting permission for protest and demonstration, the number seems to be increasing by the day and therefore this Court wants to understand in each and every case as to why the demonstration is going to be conducted by any person or association. This Court by being liberal in granting permission, does not want to unwittingly become a party for encouraging unwanted protest/demonstration.

The petition before the Court was filed after the Villupuram Police Inspector refused to grant permission to conduct a public demonstration against the allegedly illegal arrest of two persons.

However, the Court agreed with Additional Public Prosecutor M Mohamed Riyaz that the protests sought to be conducted were not warranted. The APP had submitted that if at all any objection lay to the arrests conducted by the police, the appropriate forum to present the same would be a court. Concurring with this view, Justice Venkatesh held,

The purpose for which the protest is called in the present case, is totally unwarranted. It is not known as to how this protest will decide whether the case registered is false or the arrest made is illegal. These are matters that should be agitated before an appropriate forum and it cannot be taken streets.” 

Therefore, the Court dismissed the plea, while also observing,

If at all there is any false case or an illegal arrest is made against any person, it is always open to the concerned persons to challenge the same before the appropriate forum and redress their grievance. It is left open to the petitioner to adopt the said legal process.

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