The HC had also said that it will also examine the legality of the Section 144 order put by Commissioner of Police when the case is again heard on January 7, 2020.

Section 144 in Bengaluru Ktaka HC gives interim relief to anti-CAA protesters Representational Image
news CAA Friday, December 20, 2019 - 18:32

The Karnataka High Court on Friday reiterated that people have a democratic right to protest and express their dissent on government’s decisions about issues of importance. This observation was made as a bench led by Chief Justice AS Oka was hearing petitions challenging the prohibitory orders under Section 144 for three days in the state. In a form of interim relief to the petitioners, the HC directed the government to consider fresh applications for the protests. The police will decide in three to four days from the date of such applications, Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi said. 

Earlier in the day, the state government’s counsel was asked to take directions from the government if it would consider fresh requests for peaceful protests. This, after the HC questioned if the police want to ban all protests by imposing Section 144. 

The petitioners including Congress Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Gowda had approached the court on Thursday against the imposition of Section 144 in the light of multiple collectives seeking permission to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. They argued this was a violation of their fundamental rights and challenged the legality of the order issued by the Bengaluru City Police Commissioner as they had prior permission to conduct protests.

During the hearing, the state government said the restrictions were imposed based on intelligence inputs received by Bengaluru City Police Commissioner. The state government insisted the prohibitory orders were a means of preventing violence. To this, the CJI noted even this preventive measure curtails the rights of people and such an opinion (intel reprorts) did not reflect in the prohibitory order. 

The HC had also said that it will also examine the legality of the Section 144 order put by Commissioner of Police when the case is heard on January 7, 2020. By then the state government has to submit if previously approved permissions for protest can be revoked by such an order.

Earlier in the day, the bench also questioned if an author or artist can protest or not if he/she disagrees with a government decision and if the state can assume that every protest will become violent. 

Defying Section 144, hundreds of protesters gathered in Town Hall on Thursday. 

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