Under fire for the manner in which prohibitory orders were clamped around India Gate to quell the protests against the December 16 gangrape last year, the Delhi police, in a surprising statement before the Delhi High Court, claimed there was "no complete ban" on people's movement in the area.
"It cannot be said the fundamental right of any citizen was breached…it is absolutely incorrect to assume that there was a complete ban on the movement of people in the area covered by Section 144 of CrPC," DCP (Central Delhi) Vivek Kishore said in an affidavit on Friday.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by a lawyer, Anand Mishra, who challenged the sudden prohibitory orders without a proper public notice. He alleged a large number of people could not go to their offices located in the area. The police justified the orders clamped on December 23, 2012, saying there was a threat to Rashtrapati Bhawan and Parliament.
"On December 22, a huge crowd of around 10,000 protesters had gathered at Vijay Chowk. They tried to break through the barricades put up at South Block, North Block and Vijay Chowk with an intent to forcefully enter Rashtrapati Bhawan and Parliament. They also resorted to stone pelting," the affidavit said.
The affidavit added that said an executive magistrate had the power to impose the prohibitory orders "ex-parte".
The HC is looking into whether the power to clamp such orders could be delegated to a special executive magistrate.