Imposition of Sec 144 in Bengaluru illegal: K'taka HC

Imposition of Section 144 in Bengaluru illegal: Karnataka HC

Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court on Thursday ruled the imposition of Section 144 by the city police last December to prevent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act illegal and void of law.

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangowdar was hearing a batch of petitions which had questioned the police order. “Imposition of Section 144 of CrPC-1974 without citing reasons is null and void,” the bench said.

Section 144 was imposed for three days from December 18 last year.

During the hearing, Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi defended the government’s move. “The permission to protest was withdrawn after inputs from intelligence and Home departments suggested the possibility of anti-social elements taking advantage if protests are allowed in Bengaluru,” he said.

However, petitioners’ advocate Prof Ravivarma Kumar contested the argument. “It (Karnataka) has become a police state. The constitutional right of section 19 (1) (b) has been eroded. The prohibitory order was issued with the sole intention of suppressing protests and the freedom of expression,” he argued.

After listening to both sides, the court said the police should have conducted enquiry before imposing the order. “The order should have been such that it could stand judicial scrutiny. However, we see errors in this case,” the court added.

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