Plea challenges Delhi Police’s request to turn stadium into temporary prison for anti-CAA protesters

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A plea was moved in the Delhi High Court on Friday challenging the police’s letter seeking permission from the government to turn Jangli Ram Pahalwan Stadium here into a “temporary jail” for anti-CAA protesters on the assembly election day.

The plea by social activist Jafar Ahsan Karimi apprehended that his voting right as well as that of other protesters will be curbed in the wake of Delhi Police’s requisition given to the Principal Secretary (Home) for setting up a temporary jail at the stadium in Kanjhawala for accommodating those who may be detained enmass without any reasonable basis.

The petition was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar and it agreed to list the matter for hearing on February 10.

The petitioner sought direction to the Principal Secretary (Home) to recall the letter or the approval order, if any, for the requisition given by the police on January 29 as it is arbitrary.

The petition, filed through advocates Rahul Yadav, Rashid N. Azam and Mujeeb Ur Rehman, said setting up of a mass detention centre especially during the polls and on the voting day would adversely affect the conduct of free and fair elections.

The plea claimed that the peaceful protests are being carried out for over 50 days and there has been no violence from the side of protesters except a few incidents where people have tried to attack the protesters using fire arms.

“It is alarming in a democracy that the protesters are agitating against a policy decision of framework of citizenship to be granted to foreigners under the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 which is ex facie discriminatory and designed to facilitate certain religious communities while excluding others,” the petition said.

It said the “ire of protesters is mainly against the current government at the Centre which is largely a party also contesting the elections in Delhi.”

It said the establishment of a temporary jail for detention of protesters is against the spirit of Constitution under Article 19 which guarantees the right to organise peaceful protest.

“The temporary jails, if set up, should only be sanctioned after the conduct of elections and voting,” it said, adding that if it is done earlier, every detainee who has a valid vote should be allowed to cast the vote.

The plea said the police requested for approval for setting up of temporary jail at the stadium for detention of warrants.

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