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HC reserves verdict

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PNS | Vijayawada

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on a plea related to restricting public meetings on roadsides in the State. Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra reserved the verdict after hearing the detailed arguments of the counsel of the petitioner and the State government.

The counsel of the petitioner CPI State secretary K Ramakrishna pleaded that the suspension on GO Rt No 1 ordered by the Vacation Bench of High Court should be continued.

However, the High Court refused to entertain the plea. Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra on Monday pulled up the Vacation Bench for taking up the PIL filed by Ramakrishna and also said the Vacation Bench exceeded its limits and the vacation judge acted as a de facto Chief Justice.

In their writ petition, the petitioners argued that there is a complete ban on people’s fundamental right to assemble and move freely under the impugned GO Rt No 1.

They said the prohibition of licences to conduct public meetings is unconstitutional and also ultra vires Section 30 of the Act. The High Court observed that no citizen is entitled to claim that it is his fundamental right to conduct a meeting on a public road. The Chief Justice said it seems the petition was filed with a mala fide intent.

The court also did not find merit in the petitioner’s claim that GO Rt No 1 has banned political rallies or roadshows. However, it said the, GO has been issued with certain guidelines for holding public meetings on roads and national highways.

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