NEW DELHI: In yet another flashpoint between AAP government and Delhi Police, the city administration imposed a ban on public meetings, protests and shouting of slogans near Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence for next 30 days citing serious and law and order problems.
Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) B K Jha issued an order under Section 144 of the CrPC, restricting demonstrations outside Kejriwal's residence on Flag Staff Road in North Delhi's Civil Line area.
Interestingly, sources said that the order was issued on the direction of Chief Minister -- who in 2014 during his first tenure as chief minister had held the city on ransom calling people to boycott Republic Day and held a two days protest outside Rail Bhawan, meters away from Parliament, demanding suspension of five police officials.
Every day, there are two to three protests and demonstration takes place outside the chief minister’s residence for last one year over various political and administrative issues. It is pertinent to mention that Kejriwal was termed as dharna master and he started his political career through demonstration and protest against Congress government in Delhi and Centre forming a group called India Against Corruption.
The top Delhi Police officers, however, termed the order as “illegal” stating that the law and order in city is maintained by them and under commissionerate system, police have all the magisterial powers, including that under sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC. Police issues search warrants, take preventive measures and allow use of force and can invoke section 144 of the CrPc. “We were not consulted before this order was issued,” said a top police officer.
The order stated, “It has been reported that various political parties and pressure groups may hold protests, demonstrations, dharnas, processions etc on political and others issues in front, near or around the residence of the chief minister, GNCTD (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi), which may create serious law & order problems.”
These protests need to be prohibited in order to "prevent public nuisance, obstruction to traffic and persons, danger to inhuman lives or safety and public property," the SDM (Civil Lines) said in his order.
He said in August, there are many festivals such as Independence Day, Raksha Bandhan, Parsi New Year, Janamasthmi and people in general use to visit the CM and officers' residence in festive season.
Interestingly, the Delhi BJP slammed at Kejreiwal’s move and condemned the ban, saying this must be the first time since Police Commissioner system came to the national capital that an SDM of Delhi government has imposed such a ban.
Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay in a statement said it was "really shocking" that such an "anti democratic step" of banning demonstrations has been taken by a government whose head once staked his government to demonstrate and obstruct the nation's republic day function.