A division bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday ordered notice on a batch of appeals challenging the orders of a single judge, which had granted permission to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to take out “route marches” and hold public meetings in auditoriums and open grounds alone.
The bench of Justices R Mahadevan and J Sathyanarayana Prasad ordered the notice returnable by January 5, when the appeals from G Subramaniam of Anna Nagar and 44 others came up for further hearing today.
Meanwhile, the authorities concerned may consider the plea from the appellants to hold the rally and meetings on January 22 or 29, if any such plea is received, the judge said.
This followed a submission from the senior counsels of the appellants that the appellants are proposing to hold the rally and meetings on either of the two dates.
Additional Public Prosecutor Raj Thilak pointed out to the judges it was the RSS, which had cancelled their programmes, even though the State was well prepared to provide security and make arrangements for the peaceful conduct of the event.
The appeals also sought to punish the State government officials and the police personnel for not complying with the court’s earlier order directing them to grant permission to the RSS to take out “route march” on October 2. The contemnors included the State Home Secretary, DGP and the Greater Chennai Police Commissioner.
Originally, Justice G K Ilanthiraiyan on November 4, among other things, had stipulated that the route marches and meetings should be conducted in compounded premises such as grounds or stadiums, which is under challenge now.
Earlier, the appellants contended that the order of the judge in the contempt petition modifying the original order passed on the writ petition, that too after dismissing the review petitions, is per se illegal and without jurisdiction conferred under the Contempt of Courts Act.
The judge had failed to hold that the right to freedom of expression, assemble peacefully without arms, move freely throughout the territory of India, which were guaranteed under Articles 19(1)(a), 19(1) b) and 19(1)(d) of the Constitution is snatched away by the State in gross violation of the order passed in the writ petition on the earlier occasion. It would amount to wilful disobedience attracting contempt.
The judge had omitted to consider that the very definition of route march is not attracted, if it is done indoors and for carrying out the same permission is not required, the application added and prayed for quashing of the November 4 order, which stipulated the stringent conditions.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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