Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: A police licence is needed for meetings and protests in Bangalore where more than 250 people are expected to participate and for processions involving more than 25 people.

This is stated in the Licensing and Controlling of Assemblies and Processions (Bangalore City) Order, 2009, which was notified by the State Government on May 20. “The order has come into effect, but we will enforce it from June 1,” said Commissioner of Police Shankar M. Bidari on Wednesday.

The notification comes following widespread criticism after the rally organised by the Janata Dal (Secular) on the Palace Grounds on November 17, which caused a massive traffic jam. Several schoolchildren were traumatised after being caught in it on their way home. This led to the High Court directing the city police to take measures to prevent recurrence of such events that would cause difficulties for the general public.

Civil rights organisations and a section of the intelligentsia have opposed the notification as there are grounds for misuse on partisan considerations.

According to the notification, protests and public meetings, where more than 250 people congregate, have been included in the definition of an assembly. Permission is needed if more than 25 people are expected to participate in rallies and processions. But this does not include concerts and indoor meetings.

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