Tuesday, July 23, 2024

HC suspends GO 1 till Jan 23

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The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday suspended till January 23 operation of the Government Order that prohibited conduct of public meetings and rallies on roads, including National Highways, to safeguard public safety.

A division bench passed the interim order on a writ petition filed by CPI State secretary K Ramakrishna challenging the GO, and posted the case for further hearing on January 20.

The bench directed the State government to file a counter by January 20.

The petitioner contended that the order was brought in to stifle the opposition voices against the government.

The Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government issued the GO No. 1 on January 2 midnight in the wake of a stampede at a rally held by the main Opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) at Kandukuru on December 28 last in which eight people were killed.

The prohibitory order was issued under the provisions of the Police Act, 1861, and the police immediately started implementing it.

The order said, “The right to conduct a public meeting on public roads and streets is a subject matter of regulation as Section 30 of the Police Act, 1861 itself mandates.”

Principal Secretary (Home) Harish Kumar Gupta, in the GO, asked the respective district administration and police machinery to identify “designated places away from public roads for conduct of public meetings, which do not hamper the flow of traffic, public movement, emergency services, movement of essential commodities, etc.”

The Principal Secretary highlighted the Kandukuru incident that occurred on December 28 and noted that “holding of meetings on public roads and road margins is leading to deaths and creating traffic obstructions.”

The opposition parties have been staging protests over the government’s decision, demanding that the order be withdrawn forthwith.

Even as the issue simmered, the CPI challenged the order in the High Court while another public interest litigation was also filed.

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