Modifying a single Judge’s order with regard to the timing of the proposed procession by the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) on April 14 to celebrate B.R. Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, a Division Bench of the Madras High Court on Saturday directed the event organisers to hold the procession between 10 a.m. and 1.30 p.m, instead of around 3 p.m.
Disposing of the State government’s appeals against a single Judge’s order of April 12, the First Bench consisting of Acting Chief Justice R.K. Agrawal and Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar at a special sitting ordered that the conditions imposed by the single Judge be scrupulously followed by the organisers and the party leader, who assured to control the entire cadre.
While taking out the procession and holding the meeting, the organisers should ensure that no untoward incident occurred. If there is any violation of the undertaking by the organisers or any other person, the authorities are entitled to deal with them to maintain peace and tranquillity. They could initiate appropriate action against violators, the Bench said.
On Friday, the single Judge directed the Chennai Police to permit the “People’s Unity Procession” around 3 p.m. The procession would be from Rajaratnam Stadium, Egmore, to Langs Garden Road, Pudupet.
The Judge had ordered that the meeting should be held at Maankollai, Mylapore, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Against this, the government preferred appeals.
Advocate-General A.L.Somayaji argued that the organisers’ pamphlets on the programme caused great concern to authorities in maintaining peace and public order. When such events were held earlier, there were traffic snarls and law and order problem. Bearing these in mind, the request for permission was considered and then a show cause notice was issued to the organisers regarding the procession.
VCK counsel S. Prabakaran said that the award-giving function was being conducted by the party since 2007. The request for permission for the procession was sought for as early as on March 26.
The police called the organisers and suggested changing the timings from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. As per the police request, the procession time was fixed at 3 p.m. Subsequently, the police went back on its assurance and issued a show cause notice. In spite of an explanation, no order on the request was passed.
The Bench said considering the various principles in court rulings, the organisers’ claim and to remove the apprehension that all the processionists would go straight away to the meeting place at Mylapore, it was modifying the single Judge’s order, directing the party to take out the procession between 10 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. and to conduct the public meeting from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The change of timing would avoid participants in the procession from going to the meeting place directly as there would be a break of 4.30 hours.
The Bench directed the police to regulate traffic and permit the organisers to conduct the procession and meeting.