Bengaluru: On Thursday, the Karnataka High Court held the prohibitory order passed under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) on December 18 last year that it was “not at all legal” and would not stand the test of judicial scrutiny laid down by the Supreme Court.
From December 19 to December 21, section 144 was imposed across Bengaluru city due to several protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as well as a call for ‘bandh’ by a few political organisations.
Ramachandra Guha and several other prominent activists were arrested for protesting at Bengaluru’s Town Hall. Several individuals, including Congress leaders Rajeev Gowda and Soumya Reddy filed a public interest Ligitation (PIL) to nullify the orders of Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao for imposing the prohibitory order.
Chief Justice Abhay Sreenivas Oka observed that the imposition of Section 144 took away the fundamental right of the citizens under Article 19 (b) and (d) of the Constitution. Arguing for the police, Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi said the police commissioner, who acts as the district magistrate, should be provided certain freedom to take such decisions in extreme situations.
However, Oka held that Rao had merely acted on the request of his subordinate DCPs and that there was absence of reason in the impugned order.