Tamil Nadu

HC sets aside order banning protests on December 6

Madurai: A Division Bench of the Madras High Court Bench here on Friday set aside an order passed by a single judge of the High Court on December 4 directing the State government not to give permission for demonstrations, rallies or any other form of protest by any religious organisation on December 6, the day when Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was demolished, beginning from this year.

Disposing of a writ appeal preferred by an office-bearer of Popular Front of India (PFI), Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and J. Nisha Banu set aside two paragraphs from the single judge’s order passed on a writ petition filed by an office-bearer of the Hindu Munnani seeking permission to hold a demonstration in Dindigul on December 6, demanding construction of Ram temple at the site where the 16th century mosque was demolished in 1992.

The two paragraphs set aside by the Bench read: “ It is directed that the State Government should not accord permission to any organisation in future irrespective of religions for conduct of such demonstration, rally, protest etc., particularly on the 6th of December, concerning Babri Masjid from the year 2016 so that wastage of public money, time and deployment of forces could very well be avoided and panic among public be restored to bring harmony.

“The Chief Secretary and the Home Secretary to Government of Tamil Nadu and the Director General of Police shall send a circular to all their subordinates, intimating not to grant any permission on the 6th of every December, 2016, onwards within a period of one month from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.”

Challenging the single judge’s order, Senior Counsel M. Ajmal Khan contended that it was against the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution and amounted to curtailing the legitimate expression of disapproval to “a callous incident of having demolished an ancient mosque”.

Accepting his submissions, the Division Bench directed the police to consider an application made by the PFI for staging a demonstration and ordered that in case of being granted permission, the members of the organisation should conduct themselves properly without causing any kind of disturbance to others.

In his order passed last year, the single judge had come down heavily on office-bearer of the Hindu Munnani also and said the agitation planned by him would not fetch any fruitful result but for satisfying its ego.

However, since the Dindigul police had already granted permission to two Muslim organisations — the PFI and the Indian National League — to hold demonstrations condemning the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, the judge directed the officials to consider writ petitioner’s plea too.

“In the event of the respondents declining the request of the petitioner, they must record reasons and grounds for such rejection and in the said order, they should also justify their stand for having granted permission to two other organisations,” the judge had said before imposing a ban on all kinds of protests on December 6.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 4:15:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/HC-sets-aside-order-banning-protests-on-December-6/article16701975.ece

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