High Court issues notice to Delhi Police after AAP MLAs denied permission to protest
Delhi High Court on Friday issued notice to the city police over pleas filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Raghav Chadha and Atishi who were denied permission by the department to protest outside the residences of Union home minister Amit Shah and Delhi lieutenant governor Anil Baijal over alleged misappropriation of funds by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC).
The two AAP MLAs had moved the court on Thursday after they were denied permission by Delhi Police to stage a sit-in protest at each of the two sites against the alleged misappropriation, which amounts to over Rs 2,500 crore. Chadha and Atishi were among four leaders who were detained on December 13 after they tried to stage a protest outside Shah’s residence.
Advocate Gautam Narayan, appearing for the Delhi Police, argued during the hearing on Friday that by an order of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority ( DDMA) of September 30, all political activities are banned in the national capital. This order has been extended till December 31.
Responding to this, the counsel for the AAP’s MLAs said they want to hold a peaceful protest with limited people for a limited period of time, without any tents or loudspeakers. On argument by the Delhi Police counsel that Jantar Mantar and Ramlila Maidan are the only two designated protest sites in the city, the MLAs’ counsel said, “with utmost respect,” the place where farmers are protesting is also not a designated place of protest.
The AAP’s lawyer was referring to protests by farmers, most of whom are from Punjab, on the borders of Delhi which have going on for more than three weeks now against the three farm laws passed by the Centre in September. This has emerged as yet another flashpoint between the BJP, which is in power at the Centre, and the AAP, with the Arvind Kejriwal-led party extending its support to the agitation. At a special session of the Delhi assembly on Thursday, Kejriwal and AAP MLAs had torn copies of the three laws.