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Judiciary

SC orders for deciding applications for 'Yatras' during polls within 3 days

By Jhanak Singh      19 April, 2024 04:03 PM      0 Comments
SC orders for deciding applications for Yatras during polls within 3 days

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the district authorities to decide within three days application made by any person for permission to hold 'Yatras' during the ongoing general elections.

A bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta expressed surprise over blanket orders being issued to prohibit any assembly during the polls.

Appearing for activists Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey, advocate Prashant Bhushan, said the Election Commission has prohibited all assemblies, meetings, demonstrations etc till the elections.

"How can such an order be issued," the bench asked.

The counsel submitted the Constitution bench judgments previously declared unless there are some well-founded genuine apprehension of breach of peace, an order cannot be issued under Section 144 of the CrPC.

The bench asked Bhushan to cite one of such notices.

He said, “The order issued by the district magistrate of Barmer says ‘Lok Sabha elections have been announced by ECI, this is dated March 16. As per ECI instructions, Lok Sabha elections should be conducted in a peaceful manner. No person will be able to organise a procession or public meeting without prior permission of the concerned returning officer but this restriction is not applied to marriage ceremonies and funeral processions".

Bhushan said petitioners applied for permission for taking out a democracy yatra/public meeting to educate voters in the constituencies to exercise their democratic rights etc.

"In the Assembly Election held in November and December, we asked the same permission and the permission was not given to us. Now again, no permission has been given. Within 48 hours, they should at least decide the application for permission," Bhushan said.

He said the court should pass an order, applicable to the entire country.

“We direct, by an interim order, that if any application is made by any person to the competent authorities, the same shall be decided within three days of such an application. List this after two weeks," the court said.

In their joint petition, social workers Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey asked the court to restrain the indiscriminate practice of magistrates and state governments to pass blanket orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to prohibit any and all meetings, gatherings, processions, or dharnas ahead of every Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha elections and until the declaration of results.

 



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