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HC allows Akali Dal to hold pol khol rally in Faridkot today

The Punjab government made an appeal against the court order. The HC division has again asked them to approach single judge bench.

punjab Updated: Sep 16, 2018 12:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Faridkot
Akali Dal,Faridkot,poll khol rally
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal (HT FIle )

In a setback to Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Saturday allowed the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to hold the ‘pol khol rally’ in Faridkot on September 16.

However, the Punjab government made an appeal against the court order. The HC division bench after hearing Punjab government advocate general, asked him to approach single judge bench, which had earlier passed the order. He has been asked to file an application by 6:30pm. Thereafter, single judge will take up the matter again today in the evening and pass appropriate order.

If need be the government can also approach the division bench again tonight.

Acting on the appeal of SAD, a single judge bench had allowed the SAD to hold the rally, asking the state to make arrangements for the same.

The SAD has changed the name of the rally from ‘pol khol rally’ to ‘zabar virodhi rally’.

On Friday, the state government had denied permission to the SAD to hold the rally in Faridkot, citing law and order. In response, the SAD had moved the Punjab and Haryana high court seeking permission to hold the rally.

“It is a slap on the face of Congress government and its lackeys. A major blow in favour of democracy, fundamental rights and civil liberties,” said Sukhbir Singh Badal .

SAD counsel Damanbir Sobti said the court has stayed Faridkot SDM’s order denying permission to the Shiromani Akali Dal and has allowed it to hold the rally from 11am to 3pm on Sunday.

He said that the HC directed the state government to provide security for maintenance of law and order situation.

Shiromani Akali Dal president and former deputy chief minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal termed the decision as victory of democracy and free speech.

“We thank the judiciary for stepping in to uphold the highest value of democracy and free speech, which the Congress government tried to suppress,” he said.

SAD spokesperson Parambans Singh Romana said it is a tight slap in the face of Sikh radicals, who tried to disturb the communal harmony in the state.

Earlier, the HC had stayed the proceedings initiated by the Punjab government against three retired police officers, including former Moga senior superintendent of police (SSP) Charanjit Singh Sharma, on the recommendation of the Justice (retd) Ranjit Singh Commission on sacrilege incidents and police firing in 2015.

Meanwhile, Sukhbir Badal will visit Faridkot on Saturday to review preparations for the rally.

First Published: Sep 15, 2018 12:13 IST