Constant use of Sec 144 means city unsafe

In oral observation, Gujarat High Court asks state to file a detailed report as to why it has been the case

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday pulled up the state government over the continuous imposition of the Criminal Procedure Code’s Section 144 in Ahmedabad city and has asked the state government to file a detailed report explaining why this has been the case.

The high court is hearing a petition filed by five public figures, including two professors from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A). Their prayer before the high court is that the continuous imposition of Section 144 is in violation of Article 19(1) that gives citizens the constitutional right to protest peacefully.

During the course of hearing the petition, the court—when it learned that the section has been imposed continuously since 2016—orally observed: “The continuous imposition of Section 144 for last three years in the entire city, means that the city is unsafe to live. If there is any law and order situation in a particular area, authority can impose it for a specific area and for a fixed time period.”

During the hearing, public prosecutor Mitesh Amin submitted that the city police has granted various organisations permission to hold peaceful protests 107 times. In some cases, the law and order issue has erupted. Against that, the petitioner’s senior counsel Mihir Joshi submitted that the city police is imposing Section 144 for unknown reasons. This imposition is never publicised. Police had detained students who were protesting peacefully outside IIM-A campus against the implementation of CAA, NRC and NPC. Petitioners were disturbed with the police act and so they have filed the petition.