HC seeks Delhi govt reply on martyr status to farmer Gajendra Singh

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 01, 2015 17:05 IST

Delhi high court on Wednesday sought the state government's response over Cabinet's decision to accord "martyr" status to a Rajasthan farmer Gajendra Singh who had allegedly hung himself at an AAP rally in Delhi in April.

"What do you say," a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and justice Jayant Nath asked the counsel for the Delhi government, after a copy of the Cabinet decision was placed before the court by a petitioner advocate who has challenged it saying suicide was a crime and cannot be glorified.

The court also chided the AAP dispensation saying it was the petitioner, advocate Avadh Kaushik, who had submitted a copy of the April 28 cabinet decision, but not the government.

The incident had occurred during an Aam Aadmi Party rally against the land acquisition bill on April 28 at Jantar Mantar.

Delhi government, represented by advocate Raman Duggal, said an FIR was lodged in the matter and a probe was going on.

The court, however, asked the Delhi government to say whatever it has to on affidavit and listed the matter for further hearing on September 2.

During arguments, Kaushik contended that the farmer's act of committing suicide cannot be glorified by granting him the status of a martyr as he had committed a crime.

The court on May 6 had sought the city government's response on a PIL challenging its decision to declare Kalyanwat as a martyr.

The court's order had come on the lawyer's PIL who has also sought directions to restrain the Arvind Kejriwal government from installing a statue in memory of the farmer.

The PIL has sought directions restraining the government "from glorifying, justifying, supporting, propagating and consecrating the act of suicide committed by the politician-cum-farmer on April 22, 2015 at Jantar Mantar."

In his plea, the petitioner has also opposed the city government's move to launch a farmers' compensation scheme in the name of Kalyanwat, apart from promising government job to one of his kin on compassionate ground.

"This act of respondent 1 (Delhi government) was nothing but an effort to glorify, justify, praise, support and consecrate the act of suicide, attempt thereof itself is an offence under section 309 of Indian Penal Code, 1860," the petition said.

It has also contended that the government's decision was also "a kind of abatement and temptation to others to commit such a criminal and cowardly act which is not only prejudicial to public interest but also a hostile attitude to the sanctity of life and thus, nobody, what to talk about the government, can support and glorify such an act."

The petition has also sought directions to Delhi Police to "not grant any permission to any person, party or group to stage any kind of 'dharna' or protest at Jantar Mantar" in future.

The plea also opposed the police's decision to "invite and welcome public at large, by way of advertisement," to come to Jantar Mantar and stage protests there, saying the police should instead prohibit and restrain such activities at the historic monument meant and maintained for tourism.

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