NEW DELHI :
The Allahabad high court on Monday directed the Lucknow administration to remove posters displaying pictures of those accused of destroying public property during anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, protests in December. The court also directed the district magistrate and the Lucknow police commissioner to submit a compliance report on or before 16 March.
“In entirety, we are having no doubt that the action of the state, which is (the) subject matter of this public interest litigation, is nothing but an unwarranted interference in (the) privacy of people. The same, hence, is a violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India," the high court bench comprising Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Ramesh Sinha observed.
Posters bearing photographs, names and addresses of those accused of vandalism during the anti-CAA protests had come up at major road crossings in Lucknow last week on the orders of the state government. The police in Lucknow had identified around 50 people as alleged rioters who were served notices.
“Where there is gross negligence on part of public authorities and (the) government, where the law is disobeyed and the public is put to suffering and where the precious values of the Constitution are subjected to injuries, a constitutional court can very well take notice of that on its own," the bench said.
The court also said that it does not find “any necessity for a democratic society for a legitimate aim to have publication of personal data and identity. The accused persons are the accused from whom some compensation is to be recovered and in no manner they are fugitives."
In Uttar Pradesh, there are lakhs who are accused of serious crimes, but their personal details have not been made public, the court pointed out.