The Karnataka High Court on Friday asked if the state government intends to ban each and every protest and questioned how permission for a protest following due process was withdrawn. The Karnataka High Court was hearing a plea filed by Congress Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Gowda against the imposition of Section 144 across Karnataka. The prohibitory orders came in the light of multiple collectives seeking permission to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
The bench led by Chief Justice AS Oka asked the state government whether it will consider allowing organisations to hold a peaceful protest if they give in a fresh application seeking permission for the same. The stateâ€™s counsel has been asked to appear before the court at 4 pm with the governmentâ€™s response.
The court also said that it will examine the legality of the Section 144 order put by the government.
The bench also questioned if an author or artist can protest or not if he/she disagrees with a government decision. The court further questioned if the state can assume that every protest will become violent.
Congressâ€™s Rajeev Gowda was one of many petitioners who approached the high court after the state government imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 on Wednesday evening till midnight on December 21.
Speaking at a press conference then, Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao had said, â€śAs many as 60 groups, both for and against CAA, had requested permission for protests on Thursday. We took a decision that both groups should not be allowed. Taking into consideration what's been happening in various parts of the country where protests and processions have resulted in violent actions, resulting in large scale law and order problems, including injury, death and police firing, buses being stoned and burnt, we do not want such a situation in Bengaluru."
He added that action will be taken on those who violate prohibitory orders under section 188 of the IPC. (Disobeying orders promulgated by a public servant).
However, defying Section 144, large crowds of protesters gathered in Town Hall on Thursday morning and more than a 100 protesters, including historian Ramachandra Guha, were detained. As waves of protesters continued to arrive at Town Hall and due to the huge numbers, the police were forced to allow a sit-in protest.