HC to decide if protest march can be allowed in Delhi

The Delhi High Court Monday issued notice to the Centre and city police on a petition challenging the ban on holding protests or dharna in Central and New Delhi districts.

Updated: Aug 02, 2010, 12:28 PM IST

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Monday issued notice to the Centre and city police on a petition challenging the ban on holding protests or dharna in Central and New Delhi districts.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Deepak Misra and Justice Manmohan sought response from the government and the police on a petition filed by an activist associated with an
organisation working for victims of Bhopal Gas tragedy.

The activist, Bano Bee, approached the High court after the police refused to allow her to hold protest march in support of victims of Bhopal Gas Tragedy in July.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for her, contended that the police have been invoking section 144 (unlawful assembly) for many years in perpetuity which is illegal.
"Right to protest is a fundamental right and it cannot be banned. Atmost, there can be some reasonable restrictions on holding protest. New Delhi, being the centre of power, is
the most appropriate place to hold protest and the government cannot put a blanket ban on it," the advocate said in its petition.
Section 144 of the CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code) provided Magistrate`s power to issue prohibitory order to prevent breach of peace.

PTI