Marina not a place for agitation, police tell HC

Refer to 2013 judgment of the HC in support of its stand

Published - April 20, 2018 01:10 am IST - CHENNAI

Chennai: Pro-Jallikattu protesters during a demonstration against the ban on the Jallikattu at Marina Beach in Chennai on Monday. PTI Photo by R Senthil Kumar (PTI1_23_2017_000321B)

Chennai: Pro-Jallikattu protesters during a demonstration against the ban on the Jallikattu at Marina Beach in Chennai on Monday. PTI Photo by R Senthil Kumar (PTI1_23_2017_000321B)

The Chennai city police on Thursday told the Madras High Court that permission could not be granted to hold protests on the Marina beach, which was “not a permitted place for organising any sort of agitation”, since it was situated appurtenant to arterial roads leading to several schools, colleges, government offices and hospitals.

In a counter affidavit filed in the High Court on behalf of the Commissioner of Police, Deputy Commissioner (Mylapore) P. Saravanan, 44, said protests could not be allowed in any form on the Marina since there was a possibility of “anti-social groups” participating in the protests and creating law and order problem.

The counter affidavit was filed through Additional Advocate General P.H. Arvind Pandian before Justice T. Raja, who was seized of a writ petition preferred by P. Ayyakannu, leader of a farmers’ body, seeking permission to hold fast on the Marina for 90 days demanding creation of the Cauvery Water Management Board.

It was recalled that Justice K.K. Sasidharan, in a judgment delivered in 2013, had refused to grant permission to K. Thiagarajan alias ‘Thozhar’ Thiagu, general secretary of Thamizhaga Desiya Vidhuthalai Iyakkam, to go on an indefinite fast on the Marina to express solidarity with Sri Lankan Tamils and to protest against the alleged rights violations.

‘Contention correct’

Then, the judge had said: “The police had contended that in case the fast is permitted at the Marina, it would cause traffic problems. The said contention appears to be correct. The Marina attracts several tourists and people across the State. The functioning of Madras University, the Secretariat, the Reserve Bank of India and similar other institutions would be affected in case traffic comes to a stand still on this arterial road. Therefore, it is not possible to permit the petitioner to go on fast on Marina.” The Deputy Commissioner went on to state that permitting indefinite fast on the Marina would cause serious damage to the environment and infringe the rights of other citizens to enjoy public amenities. He said that the petitioner could be granted permission to fast only for a day at permitted locations near Valluvar Kottam, government guest house in Chepauk or near Quaid-e-Millath memorial in Chintadripet.

The court was told that 16 conditions would have to be imposed on the writ petitioner before granting permission for the fast and they would include submission of a list of speakers at the venue, a gag order on speaking about matters that were sub judice and a ban on making defamatory speeches against government machineries.

The counter affidavit was also served on the petitioner’s counsel S. Muthukrishnan. However, Since the case could not be taken up for hearing on Thursday, the judge directed the Registry to post it on top of the list on Friday.

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