The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to lift prohibitory orders imposed in certain sections of Lutyens Delhi such as India Gate, central vista lawns and Rajpath, saying the administration was empowered to impose it to maintain peace.
The court also said the incidents of December 22 and 23, when protests turned violent, justified its imposition.
The prohibitory order under Section 144 of the criminal procedure code (CrPC) was clamped on December 22, ahead of mass protests against the gangrape of a girl in a moving bus.
"What constitutional infirmity it suffers from is for the administration to deal and decide as per situation. From what transpired, it's clearly borne out," said a bench headed by Justice Siddharth Mridul.
The court was hearing a petition challenging the imposition of Section 144 in these areas. Contending that the order was "arbitrarily" imposed, petitioner Anand Mishra, a lawyer, alleged that "it was being misused to clamp down on popular agitation and aimed at legitimising use of force against the public in the garb of maintaining law and order".
He argued that Section 144 can only be imposed in emergencies and after issuing a public notice and not suddenly as the police did on a flimsy ground "to ease obstruction to traffic".
To this, justice Mridul asked: "Is public tranquility not an emergency?" But the bench did seek an explanation from the police about not issuing a notice before prohibitory orders.
The court transferred the petition to the bench hearing PILs headed by chief justice D Murugesan. The next hearing will be held on January 2, 2013.