Allahabad High Court: Hoarding with photos of Anti-CAA riots accused, verdict Tomorrow at 2 PM :
The Allahabad High Court on Sunday pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for putting up hoardings of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protestors in Lucknow and termed it ‘insult of state and its public’. The court reserved the judgment for Monday at 2 pm.
The bench comprised by Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Ramesh Sinha orally said that the state action of putting up the posters of alleged CAA Protestors was “highly unjust” and that it was an absolute “encroachment” on personal liberty of the persons concerned.
The Lucknow administration had put up hoardings at major cross-sections in the city, with details of about 60 people who have been issued recovery notices for their alleged involvement in violence during CAA protests on December 19, 2019.
A government spokesman said the posters have been up on the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s directive at important intersections, including the main crossing in the busy Hazratganj area and in front of the Assembly building. The hoardings had reportedly been put up on Adityanath’s instructions. After violence broke out last December in Lucknow and other parts of the state, Adityanath had declared that his government would take “revenge” and attach the property of anyone involved in it. The police had video graphed people who had attended the protests in addition to identifying some protesters through closed-circuit cameras. Hundreds of people were arrested and accused of fomenting violence.These hoardings display pictures of accused who allegedly caused damage to public property during the anti-CAA-NRC protests that took place on December 19, 2019.
Pictures of accused, mentioning that they are “Joint and Severally” liable to pay Rs. 64,37,637/- to the government were thereby exhibited.
In the hearing held this afternoon, the Advocate General Raghvendra Singh argued that the High Court Bench that had no jurisdiction to take up this matter suo motu, given that the posters were displayed in Lucknow. Chief Justice Mathur, however, responded that the High Court has jurisdiction over matters concerning the entire state.
The Bench further intimated that this aspect would also be clarified in the judgment to be pronounced in the matter.
The Advocate General also argued that the hoardings were put to deter other people from doing similar acts and to maintain strict law and order. He further argued that the PIL is meant for law followers and not lawbreakers.
The court took suo motu notice of the Lucknow administration’s controversial decision to ‘name and shame’ persons accused in the violence during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) by putting up their photos in hoardings all over the city.