Notice to police against curbs at India Gate

New Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Tuesday issued notice to Delhi Police on a plea challenging the imposition of restrictions on the gathering of people at and around India Gate during anti-rape protests.

A division bench of Chief Justice D. Murugesan and Justice V.K. Jain sought a response from police within two weeks and posted the matter for Feb 6.

"How can a special executive magistrate extend the period to impose Section 144 of CrPC when the power lies only with the state government to extend the period," asked the bench.

"Whether this section can be imposed without applying the mind (by special executive magistrate), we have to look into that," said the bench, hearing a public interest litigation by advocate Anand K. Mishra challenging imposition of Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) prohibiting assembly of five or more people at and around India Gate.

The bench asked police "to explain as to how a special executive magistrate can be vested with the power to impose prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC for up to six months despite the same being contrary to the fundamental rights of citizens".

"You can't uniformly, just like that, extend the operation of section 144 as it is in contrast with the fundamental rights of the citizens," it said.

Refusing to frame guidelines on the issue, the bench said: "We will certainly look into the delegation of power to the special executive magistrate to impose section 144 of CrPC."

Meanwhile, counsel appearing for Delhi Police told the court that the prohibitory orders imposed on Dec 22 at and around India Gate will lapse on Jan 14.

Mishra's plea said there were "unreasonable restrictions" on peaceful assembly and movement of public.

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