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'Citizens Have Right To Freedom Of Speech & Expression, Protest Was Peaceful': Madras HC Quashes FIR Against CAA Protester

Sparsh Upadhyay
11 April 2021 11:09 AM GMT
Citizens Have Right To Freedom Of Speech & Expression, Protest Was Peaceful: Madras HC Quashes FIR Against CAA Protester
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While observing that the Petitioner had organized a peaceful protest against the amendments made to the Citizenship Laws, the Madras High Court recently quashed the FIR filed against a person named Jafar Sathick. The Bench of Justice R. Hemalatha was hearing the petition seeking a direction to quash the First Information Report in Crime No.63 of 2020 of Boothapandy Police...

While observing that the Petitioner had organized a peaceful protest against the amendments made to the Citizenship Laws, the Madras High Court recently quashed the FIR filed against a person named Jafar Sathick.

The Bench of Justice R. Hemalatha was hearing the petition seeking a direction to quash the First Information Report in Crime No.63 of 2020 of Boothapandy Police Station, Kanyakumari District.

Facts in brief

On 12th March 2020, when the Special Sub-Inspector of Police (2nd respondent), was on his routine rounds, he found the petitioner along with others was protesting against the amendments made to the Citizenship Laws.

According to the complainant, namely, the Special Sub-Inspector of Police, Boothapandy Police Station, the petitioner and others by their act had not only committed public nuisance but also caused hindrance to the free flow of vehicular traffic on the road.

Court's observations

At the outset, the Court noted that no untoward incident had taken place and the petitioner had organized the protest and the First Information Report did not disclose any act of violence.

Further, the Court remarked,

"It must be unequivocally emphasized that the Constitution of India gives its citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression, assemble peacefully and without arms, to form Associations and Unions and to move freely throughout the Territory of India under Article 19 (1) (a), (b), (c) and (d) of the Constitution of India."

Significantly, the Court also observed,

"In the instant case, the protest was peaceful and as already observed no untoward incident took place."

In these circumstances, the First Information Report was quashed as against the petitioner and the Criminal Original Petition stood allowed.

In related news, last year, while observing that the Petitioners had conducted peaceful demonstration/protest against the Amendment of CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) and NRC (National Register Citizenship), the Madras High Court had quashed the FIR filed against two CAA-NRC Protesters.

The Bench of Justice J. Nisha Banu was hearing the petitions of Henri Tiphagne & Saathik Ali, who prayed before the Court to call for the entire records pertaining to the impugned First Information Report in Crime Number. 4 of 2020, and to quash the same as against the petitioners.

Case title - Jafar Sathick @ Jahabar Sathick v. The State and another [Crl.O.P.(MD)No.4609 of 2021 and Crl.M.P.(MD)No.2578 of 2021]

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