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Allahabad High Court Orders UP Govt. to Remove Its Hoardings Carrying Names and Photos of Anti-CAA Protesters

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Allahabad High Court on March 8, 2020 ordered UP Govt. to Remove Its Hoardings Carrying Names and Photos of Anti-CAA Protesters (Photo @naila_kidwai)

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Allahabad, March 08— In an unusual move, the Allahabad High Court opened on Sunday and directed the Uttar Pradesh government to remove the hoardings that it had installed in the state capital Lucknow, carrying the names and photos of around 30 people who the government charged were behind the violence erupted during a protest demonstration against Citizenship Amendment Act in December last year.

The HC had Saturday night taken suo motu the issue about hoardings, highlighted in the media in the past few days.

Among the names printed on the hoardings by the state government were former Police IG of the state SR Darapuri, High Court lawyer Mohammad Shoaib, social activist Sadaf Jafar and theatre artist Deepak Kabir. The state government had earlier issued damage notices to them and 25 other people asking them to pay around Rs 64 lakh that the state government claimed incurred the state exchequer due to the losses to the public properties during the violence.

“Good sense should prevail on the State and it must remove the hoardings before 3 pm and inform the court about this,” Allahabad High Court asked the state government, reports LiveLaw.in, a portal dedicated to legal issues.

The High Court bench comprising Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Ramesh Sinha said that putting up the posters of alleged anti-CAA protestors was “highly unjust” and that it was an absolute “encroachment” on personal liberty of the persons concerned.

Justice Prevailed: Sadaf Jafar

Activist and Congress leader Sadaf Jafar commented on the order of the Allahabad HC:

“Justice prevailed…Thank you for you undeterred support,” she tweeted soon after the HC order for removal of the hoardings.

She was arrested on December 20 while she was doing live coverage of the protest on her Facebook page. She was released from jail on bail after about two weeks.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan also lauded the HC order.

“Kudos to Allahabad HC for taking suo moto cognizance of obnoxious posters of anti-CA protestors put up by UP Police…Many HCs are being faithful to the Constitution & rights of people, unlike, I must say, the present SC,” he tweeted.

Earlier, commenting on the HC decision to take up the case of hoardings, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi had tweeted in Hindi: “The attitude of the UP BJP government is such that its chief and his obedient officers have started considering themselves above the Constitution made by Babasaheb Ambedkar. The HC has now told the government that it is not above the Constitution and its accountability will be fixed.”

HC to Pronounce Judgment at 2 PM on Monday

After the passing the verbal observations Sunday around 10:30 AM, the HC bench, at the request of the state government, decided to hear the case further at 3 PM same day.

When the bench assembled at 3 PM, Additional Advocate General Neeraj Tripathi appeared for the state government and argued in support of the government decision to display the hoardings. The Advocate General even said that the Allahabad High Court has no jurisdiction as these hoardings have been put in Lucknow.

The HC bench said that there should be a trial but hoardings with names and details cannot be put up. Later, the bench announced that it will pronounce the judgment at 2 PM on Monday.