Bengaluru

₹10 lakh bond to hold protests riles activists

Insistence on a bond by the police is a ‘clampdown on fundamental right of legitimate and peaceful assembly and dissent’ say activists

Insistence on a bond by the police is a ‘clampdown on fundamental right of legitimate and peaceful assembly and dissent’ say activists   | Photo Credit: File photo

Police say it’s meant to make the organisers more responsible

Several organisations, which are up in arms against the city police’s decision to have them sign indemnity bonds of up to ₹10 lakh as a precondition for permission to stage protests, are planning to challenge this in court.

The police have issued notices to organisers of protests seeking bonds under Section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. This gives powers to magistrates to seek a bond from a person they have information that will likely commit a breach of peace.

Earlier, the police used to seek a bond of up to ₹10,000, and only in special cases. But four months ago, when a rally caused large-scale damage to public property, the order was amended to allow for a bond up to ₹10 lakh. “The practice instituted by the city police also violates the law,” claimed Maitreyi Krishnan, an advocate with Manthan Law and an activist taking part in several anti Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests adding that it violates Section 107 of CrPC.

“The law clearly states that the magistrate must have got information that the person will likely commit an offence, and the magistrate before asking for such a bond must have sufficient grounds to proceed. But the police have made signing these bonds a prerequisite for permission to protest in an arbitrary fashion.”

“The action by the police creates a dangerous false equivalence between holding a democratic protest to breach of peace and committing an offence,” said activist Vinay Sreenivasa, who recently signed two bonds of ₹10 lakh seeking permission for anti-CAA protests.

The city police, however, have defended their decision. Chetan Singh Rathore, DCP (Central) said the bond is only an undertaking and neither involves paying up any money nor giving any guarantee.

“It dissolves itself if there is no violence or damage to public property by the protesters. The bond will be executed if an inquiry proves that the protesters carried out violence and breached peace. It makes the organisers more responsible but in no way is a clampdown on protests,” said DCP Rathore.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 8:15:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/10-lakh-bond-to-hold-protests-riles-activists/article30780279.ece

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