"If permission was not granted to Mekedatu Padayatra, why action not taken against Congress party?," Karnataka HC asks State govt
Meanwhile, Additional Advocate General submitted that the state government has already issued an order dated January 4, 2022, banning rallies/dharnas or demonstrations involving gatherings of people.
BENGALURU: Taking the state government to task, Karnataka High Court on Wednesday asked the state to inform as to how and why the rallies particularly the Mekedatu Padayatra held by the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) is being permitted to continue and why no appropriate action has been taken by the state authorities to restrain the KPCC from any such activities, despite an increase in the number of Covid cases in the state.
The court also asked the KPCC, represented by president DK Shivakumar, to inform as to whether any due permission was taken by them to hold the impugned rally and whether in the said rally, they are taking all appropriate steps to ensure the compliance of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the state government. What measures are being taken by them (KPCC) to adhere to the SOP and in case of violation of the SOP, what action do they propose to take? the court questioned.
A division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Suraj Govindaraj said in the order passed after hearing the public interest litigation filed by one Nagendra Prasad. This PIL has been filed seeking a direction to state government, Deputy Commissioner of Ramanagar, and others not to permit/allow any political rallies dharnas and protest and to restrain the KPCC from continuing with the padayatra with the theme "Namma Neeru Namma Hakku" in any place in the state of Karnataka in terms of clause 14 of government order.
The counsel of the petitioner submitted that the KPCC has launched 1 10-day padayatra demanding the implementation of the Mekedatu project across the Cauvery river despite the government putting restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was also submitted that the holding of rally and padayatra by the KPCC has caused a serious threat to the spread of Covid-19, as at present the state government has already suffered due to the new variant of Omicron and more than 70,000 active Covid cases are present in the state as per news reports.
Meanwhile, Additional Advocate General submitted that the state government has already issued an order dated January 4, 2022, banning rallies/dharnas or demonstrations involving gatherings of people. He also submitted that the DC Ramanagar district has issued notice dated January 5, 2022, to the KPC informing that no permission has been granted to hold padayatra and they shall not hold any such rallies. Then the court asked the government why no appropriate action was taken to restrain the rally.
Further hearing was adjourned to Friday.