Citizen Can't Be Externed For Raising Grievance Against Govt: Gujarat High Court Quashes Externment Order Against NRC-CAA Protester
The Gujarat High Court on Thursday quashed an externment order passed against a person, who was allegedly part of a crowd of unknown persons who were demonstrating against NRC/CAA, noting that citizens can't be subjected to externment for raising his grievance against the Government.The Bench of Justice Paresh Upadhyay was hearing the plea of a social activist Mohammed Kaleem Siddiqui who...
The Gujarat High Court on Thursday quashed an externment order passed against a person, who was allegedly part of a crowd of unknown persons who were demonstrating against NRC/CAA, noting that citizens can't be subjected to externment for raising his grievance against the Government.
The Bench of Justice Paresh Upadhyay was hearing the plea of a social activist Mohammed Kaleem Siddiqui who had been externed for a period of one year from several districts of Gujarat (including Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Kheda and Mehsana) by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad.
The said order has been passed in exercise of powers under Section 56(b) of the Gujarat Police Act, 1951 considering two FIRs registered against him. Challenging the order, he moved the High Court.
At the outset, the Court noted that out of two FIRs reference to which is made in the notice, qua the FIR of the year 2018, the petitioner was already acquitted.
So far the second FIR dated 19.12.2019 is concerned, it had been filed against a crowd of unknown persons who were demonstrating against the policy of the Government qua NRC / CAA and the petitioner/Siddiqui is stated to be one of the persons in the said crowd.
Against this backdrop, the Court remarked thus:
"Citizen can not be subjected to externment for raising his grievance against the Government. On this count also, the externment order needs to be set aside. 5.4.1 As noted above, in the externment order, four FIRs are taken into consideration, two of which were not even referred to in the notice."
Accordingly, the petition was allowed and the impugned order passed by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, 'A' Division, Ahmedabad City was quashed and set aside.
Last week, the Gujarat High Court had come down heavily on the State's authorities for encroaching upon the liberty of citizens by externing people from the Union territories (outside the Gujarat State's Jurisdiction), upon which they do not have any jurisdiction.
The Bench of Justice Paresh Upadhyay was hearing a challenge to the order passed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Navsari, externing petitioner, one Sagar Bhamare, for a period of two years from several Districts of Gujarat and also from the Union Territories of Daman and Dadra Nagar Haveli.
Again, the Gujarat High Court had recently stayed an externment order passed against a man, taking into account the fact that the said order was passed right after an FIR was registered against him after he criticized a BJP MLA.
Justice Paresh Upadhyay noted that the externment order passed by the SDM, Godhra Prant was, without the authority of law and beyond the Magistrate's authority.
"If the grievance of the citizen against local MLAs are to be dealt with in this manner, not only the citizen needs to be protected, even the response needs to be asked from the concerned MLA, whether he supports such an order," the Court remarked while issuing notice to the MLA in the matter.
During the course of the hearing the Court orally remarked:
"The SDM should be shifted immediately, they are custodians of Public Trust and not of the local politicians. Will you extern a person based on his complaint/question against MLA not doing his work? If one is complaining against an MLA, FIR is registered and the externment has been passed. SDM is the custodian of whom?"