A public interest petition (PIL) was filed on Tuesday before the Kerala High Court seeking a directive to the State Police Chief to regulate the Bharat Jodo Yatra led by former Congress president Rahul Gandhi by permitting party workers only to occupy half portion of the roads and leaving the other for the free movement of vehicles and the public.
The petition was filed by K. Vijayan, a High Court lawyer. According to the petitioner, the yatra entered Kerala on September 10. In fact, the rallyists were occupying the whole breadth of public roads. As a result, the movement of the public and vehicles was blocked for hours together. The march was preventing the free flow of vehicular traffic and the movement of pedestrians, he said.
If any of the roads in the State were blocked, the entire flow of traffic would be paralysed. The blocking of roads and completely stopping the movements of pedestrians and vehicles were serious violations of the rights of the public, he said.
The petitioner pointed out that under the provisions of the Kerala Public Ways (Restriction of Assemblies and Procession) Act, 2011, the district police authorities could impose reasonable restrictions to safeguard the right of unobstructed movement of the public along public ways and collect fees from organisers while allowing the use of public ways for such rallies.
The petitioner also sought a directive to take necessary steps to collect the entire expenses incurred in every district from the Congress party for the deployment of the police force for the yatra.