A Delhi court on Saturday slammed the city police for imposing curbs on citizens’ right to protest and questioned its decision to detain activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal and his associates, who were protesting peacefully against the coal scam outside the Prime Minster’s residence last year.
“Why cannot citizens protest…it is the right of the citizens to protest, and what is illegal in it?” questioned Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja.
"He also sought an explanation from the Delhi Police over the imposition of Section 144 CrPc, which allows the police to detain protesters citing law and order threat, to deal with protests.
Speaking to HT, Arvind Kejriwal — convener of the Aam Aadmi Party — said, “It is my fundamental right to protest against corruption, and we can protest outside Prime Minister’s house. No violence occurred during the protest.”
Scrutinising the decision to impose Section 144, the magistrate asked: “What was the threat to the law and order situation?” He also raised questions over the “doubtful” investigations in the case.
Prashant Bhushan, a close aide of Kejriwal, who was present in the court, said it was a politically motivated case and the police was being used as a tool.
The police had registered three cases of rioting, unlawful assembly and use of force to obstruct public servants from discharging their duty and damaging public property against Kejriwal, Bhushan and Manish Sisodia and 23 others in August 2012.