Why impose Sec 144 during peaceful protest: Court

A city court on Saturday asked the police to explain the reasons for imposing prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC during protests led by India Against Corruption against the coal block allocation scam.

Observing that "taking out a peaceful protest march near the PM's residence is a fundamental right of every citizen", Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja asked police to explain why they had imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 "when there was no imminent threat of violence by the protesters".

The court raised the questions during the hearing in an application for discharge filed by IAC leaders Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Manish Sisodia and 23 others who are facing charges of unlawful assembly, destruction of public property, intimidating and obstructing a public servant and rioting during the protest march on August 26 last year.

The court is hearing arguments on framing of charges against the accused. "You have not investigated the issue of Section 144 CrPC properly and they have been booked for violating this provision. You want me to accept your documents as it is. In every controversial case, you say 'put the accused on trial, investigation is going on and will submit details later'," the judge said.

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