Press Trust of india

Plea in HC challenges police requisition for temporary jail to detain anti-CAA protestors

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New Delhi, Feb 7 :  A plea was moved in the Delhi High Court on Friday challenging the police’s letter seeking permission from the government to turn Jangli Ram Pahalwan Stadium here into a “temporary jail” for anti-CAA protestors on the assembly election day.

The petition was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar and it agreed to list the matter for hearing on February 10.

The plea by a social activist apprehended that his voting right as well as that of other protestors will be curbed in the wake of Delhi Police’s requisition given to the Principal Secretary (Home) for setting up a temporary jail at the stadium in Kanjhawala for accommodating those who may be detained enmass without any reasonable basis.

Petitioner Jafar Ahsan Karimi sought direction to the Principal Secretary (Home) to recall the letter or the approval order, if any, for the requisition given by the police on January 29 as it is arbitrary.

The petition, filed through advocates Rahul Yadav, Rashid N Azam and Mujeeb Ur Rehman, said setting up of a mass detention centre especially during the polls and on the voting day would adversely affect the conduct of free and fair elections.

The plea claimed that the peaceful protests are being carried out for over 50 days and there has been no violence from the side of protestors except a few incidents where people have tried to attack the protestors using fire arms.

“It is alarming in a democracy that the protestors are agitating against a policy decision of framework of citizenship to be granted to foreigners under the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 which is ex facie discriminatory and designed to facilitate certain religious communities while excluding others,” the petition said.

It said the “ire of protestors is mainly against the current government at the Centre which is largely a party also contesting the elections in Delhi”.

It said the establishment of a temporary jail for detention of protestors is against the spirit of Constitution under Article 19 which guarantees the right to organise peaceful protest.

“The temporary jails if set up should only be sanctioned after the conduct of elections and voting,” it said, adding that if it is done earlier, every detainee who has a valid vote should be allowed to cast the vote.

The plea said a letter was written by the additional commissioner of police (Rohini district) to the Principal Secretary (Home) saying that in view of passing of CAA bill, a number of protests are being held across Delhi.

It said the letter stated that the police has been informed through various agencies that some of the protestors may deliberately resort to unconstitutional/ violent means and try to disturb the law and order situation in view of the forthcoming assembly elections.

The plea said the police requested for approval for setting up of temporary jail at the stadium for detention of warrants.

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