Home / News / India /  Karnataka HC rules section 144 imposed by Bengaluru police chief on 18 Dec as ‘illegal’

BENGALURU : The Karnataka High Court on Thursday termed the restrictions imposed by the Bengaluru city police commissioner on 18 December, barring any protests or rallies over the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), as illegal.

The division bench order, presided by Chief Justice of Karnataka HC Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar, comes over two months after the restrictions were imposed for three days till midnight of 21 December.

“Since the order has spent itself out, the HC did not quash the order but held it to be illegal," said one advocate directly aware of the developments, requesting not to be named.

The person cited above said that the court observed that the Bengaluru police commissioner (Bhaskar Rao) had based his decision on letters of possible unrest by eight of his subordinates but did not use further application of mind before imposing restrictions.

“Basically order should speak for itself and should show application of mind," the advocate cited above said, quoting the court’s observations.

Rao could not be reached for comment.

Though there were restrictions, organisations, groups and individuals who oppose the CAA and National Register of Citizens (NRC), who did have prior permission to protest in Bengaluru, carried on as planned only to be detained by the police.

Renowned historian Ramachandra Guha, activist Clifton Rozario were among many others detained by the Bengaluru police on 19 December.

Similar restrictions were imposed by competent authorities in other parts of Karnataka and the rest of the country.

Several protestors had gathered at Townhall and Mysuru Bank circle in Bengaluru as well other parts of the state in defiance of the prohibitionary orders imposed by the B.S.Yediyurappa-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka on 18 December.

Two people died after police fired shots to disperse crowds gathered to protest against the CAA and NRC in the communally sensitive coastal city of Mangaluru, about 350 kms from Bengaluru.

Ravi Varma Kumar, senior counsel appearing for the petitioners against the imposition of section 144 said that this order will have a bearing on similar orders in the future.

“Now that a very strict guidelines have been laid down, whoever is passing an order under section 144 in the state is bound to take note of these guidelines and ensure strict obedience to observations of the court," he said.

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