Worried over balancing local repercussions of national hot potatoes, which could find a way onto its plate — during Parliament’s monsoon session — the Delhi Police, on Friday, issued orders under the restrictive section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in the VIP district of New Delhi.
Also, this time, the police have resurrected orders issued in answer to a four-year-old writ petition filed in Supreme Court (SC) to punish organisers of mass rallies to clean up after themselves or face the music.
“The Parliament’s monsoon session is just around the corner and can lead to law and order problems, if agitators of varying hues decide to hold public demonstrations all at once. So, we are imposing Section 144, CrPC in the district till the session is over,” said a senior police officer requesting anonymity.
While Jantar Mantar — shielded by several court judgements, which earmark it as a venue to hold public demonstrations — will be outside the order’s ambit, an assembly of five or more persons near or at Parliament House, North and South Block and Central Vista lawns has been declared illegal.
The said order will be imposed on July 30 and will be in force till September 9, a day after the monsoon session ends on September 8.
“The SC guidelines dealing with the holding of such rallies in tandem with the order shall ensure that organiser(s)... are held culpable if and when a law and order issue arises. They will not only be prosecuted under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), but can also be booked for contempt of court,” the officer said.
Meanwhile, sources said the Delhi police commissioner met union home minister P Chidambaram on Friday evening and argued against permitting Anna Hazare from holding a fast unto death at Jantar Mantar. “Giving permission for a fast unto death effectively means giving permission for suicide; the Jantar Mantar area can accommodate only around 1,500 people. Ajmal Khan Park in west Delhi or Burari make for better options for such mass gatherings,” the officer said.