Plea in Delhi HC challenges police requisition for temporary jails

It says police sought permission for a temporary jail for detaining anti-CAA protesters on poll day

protest
The plea was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar on Friday | Representative Photo

A social activist on Friday (February 7) moved a plea in the Delhi High Court challenging the city police’s letter seeking permission from the government for turning Jangli Ram Pahalwan Stadium into a “temporary jails” to accommodate anti-CAA protesters on the assembly election day in the national capital.

The petition apprehended that his voting right as well as that of other protesters will be curbed in the wake of Delhi Police’s requisition given to the Principal Secretary (Home) for setting up a temporary jail at the stadium in Kanjhawala for accommodating those who may be detained en masse without any reasonable basis.

The plea was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar on Friday. The court agreed to list the matter for hearing on February 10. The petitioner, Jafar Ahsan Karimi, sought direction to the Principal Secretary (Home) to recall the letter or the approval order, if any, for the requisition given by the police on January 29 as it is arbitrary.

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The petition said setting up of a mass detention centre especially during the polls and on the voting day would adversely affect the conduct of free and fair elections. It claimed peaceful protests are being carried out for over 50 days and there has been no violence from the side of protesters except a few incidents of attack on the protesters using fire arms.

“It is alarming in a democracy that the protesters are agitating against a policy decision of framework of citizenship to be granted to foreigners under the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 which is ex facie discriminatory and designed to facilitate certain religious communities while excluding others,” the petition said.

It said the “ire of protesters is mainly against the current government at the Centre which is largely a party also contesting the elections in Delhi”. It said the establishment of a temporary jail for detention of protesters is against the spirit of Constitution under Article 19 which guarantees the right to organise peaceful protest.

Related news: EC, police officials inspect Shaheen Bagh, encourage protesters to vote

“The temporary jails, if set up, should only be sanctioned after the conduct of elections and voting,” it said, adding that if it is done earlier, every detainee who has a valid vote should be allowed to cast the vote. The plea said a letter was written by the ACP (Rohini district) to the Principal Secretary (Home) saying that in view of passing of CAA bill, a number of protests are being held across Delhi.

It said the letter stated the police has been informed through various agencies that some of the protesters may deliberately resort to unconstitutional/violent means and try to disturb the law and order situation in view of the assembly elections. The plea said the police requested for approval for setting up of temporary jail at the stadium for detention of warrants.

(With inputs from agencies)

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