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Thursday 28 May 2020

Yogi govt challenges HC order to remove rioters’ posters in SC

The advocate-general of the Uttar Pradesh government says it was wrong of the HC to say the posters amounted to a violation of the rioters' right to privacy

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The Uttar Pradesh government of Yogi Adityanath filed a petition today in the Supreme Court, challenging the Allahabad High Court order to remove the posters that identify rioters with immediate effect. A vacation bench of the apex court will hear the petition tomorrow.

During the Holi holidays in the Supreme Court, the vacation bench is sitting for the hearing of urgent cases. This is the first time a vacation bench of the Supreme Court is working even during the week of Holi. It otherwise is in session during the summer holidays.

On Thursday, the vacation bench of Justice UU Lalit and Anirudh Bose will hear the petition of the Uttar Pradesh government. Advocate-General (A-G) of Uttar Pradesh Raghavendra Singh said that the state government had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the high court order and that the petition would be heard on Thursday.

Referring to the grounds given in the appeal, Singh said that it was not right to say that the names and photos in the posters amount to a violation of the right to privacy, as said by the high court. “The matter does not come under the purview of privacy,” he said.

Singh said that the right to privacy did not apply to things which were public already. “In this case, everything is already public,” the A-G said.

On the second premise to give the case the shape of a public interest litigation (PIL) in the appeal, Singh said that this matter could not be considered a PIL as the concept of PIL has been brought for those who were unable to come to court due to any reason. A PIL, he said, can be filed on their behalf.

“Or in cases where a large part of the population is being affected, such as public interest litigation can be done in cases like environmental protection, etc. But the present case is not so,” Singh explained.

According to the A-G of the Yogi government, the affected people can go to court in the current case and some people have indeed moved court against the recovery notice. “So, this case should not be heard under the PIL,” he said.

However, Singh did not share further details of the petition and its basis.

On 9 March, the Allahabad High Court ordered the Yogi government to remove the poster with immediate effect. The court had said in the order that the state government had no legal right to put up such posters. The court had also called the act an infringement of the right to privacy of the people the posters showed.

Yogi govt identified 57 rioters

A total of 100 hoardings have been placed at all major intersections in Lucknow, including the names and addresses of 57 people allegedly involved in the violence during anti-CAA protests in Lucknow in December last year.

All these people are from Hasanganj, Hazratganj, Kaiserbagh and Thakurganj police station areas of Lucknow.

The Yogi administration has already issued notices for recovery to all these alleged rioters for damage to public property worth Rs 1.55 crore.

Assets to be confiscated

Lucknow District Magistrate Abhishek Prakash had said that the administration had his photo-hoardings installed in areas where the rioters had vandalised properties. “If the police provide further evidence, there will be recovery from the rest,” he said.

All the alleged rioters have been served a 30-day notice from the date of its issuance. In the event of failure to deposit the recovery amount, the assets of the accused will be confiscated, the Yogi government has decided.

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