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Published On: Mon, Mar 9th, 2020

Allahabad High Court orders removal of posters naming, shaming anti-CAA protesters

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download (8)ALLAHABAD : In a big jolt to the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government, the Allahabad High Court on Monday (March 9) directed the state to take down all hoardings carrying pictures and addresses of anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protesters, allegedly involved in violence and damaging public properties. The Court also directed the District Magistrate and Police Commissioner to submit a compliance report with Registrar General of High Court by March 16.

Government of U P put up six hoardings last week in prominent places in its capital, Lucknow, identifying people it says joined in violent protests against the CAA. The state accused at least 53 people depicted in the posters of rioting in December.

In Lucknow, around 50 people were identified by police as alleged rioters and were served notices. The posters said the property of the accused will be confiscated if they fail to pay compensation.

The hoardings included pictures of Shia cleric Maulana Saif Abbas, former IPS officer SR Darapuri and Congress leader Sadaf Jafar, all of whom were named as accused in the violence that swept the state capital on December 19 last year.
Those named were asked to pay for damage to public property during the protests in Lucknow, in which one person had died. The hoardings also say if the accused fails to pay up, their properties would be attached. On Friday, sources in the Chief Minister`s Office sent an unsigned two-page note justifying the hoardings. They said they were put up keeping larger public interest in mind and after following all rules.
On Sunday, taking the suo moto cognizance of public interest litigation on the issue the High Court in an unprecedented sitting, a court holiday, termed the act of putting up photos of protesters as ‘unjust’.
Today, responding to the government’s contention that the court “erred in invoking public interest jurisdiction”, the judges said, “Courts are meant to impart justice and no court can shut its eyes if a public unjust is happening just before it”.
Lawyer KK Rai had on Sunday said that the court has observed that the act is an encroachment into a citizen`s right to privacy. “The court observed that the government could do something to rectify it,” he had further said.
Activist Deepak Kabir has said that the hoardings put up by the government bearing names of anti-CAA protesters are creating an atmosphere of fear. He said that people whose names are mentioned in posters can be lynched anywhere.
“It is shameful. There was no need for that. The government is creating an atmosphere of fear. People whose names are mentioned can be lynched anywhere. The environment after Delhi violence is not safe. Government is putting everyone at risk,” Kabir told ANI. Darapuri had also termed the administration’s action as ‘unconstitutional’ and said that the government is trying to defame protesters.
UP Minister Mohsin Raza had alleged that people whose names have been put up in hoardings destroyed public properties. “Photos have been put off those people who tried to create unrest under the garb of the Citizenship Amendment Act. They harmed people of the state and tried to destroy public properties. Now damages will be recovered from them,” he said.
Citing the Right to Privacy as a fundamental human right recognised by the United Nations as well as the Supreme Court, the judges said the government’s move to display photographs and personal details of the accused on roadside hoardings was “an unwarranted interference in privacy”.
The Lucknow administration has to give a compliance report on the removal to the registrar general by March 16, the court said. Sources said the hoardings – in which the persons named were asked to pay for damage to public property and warned that their property would be attached otherwise — were put up on instructions of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
(Bureau Repor with Agency Inputs ).

 

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