Lucknow: No poster or hoarding naming those accused of violence during protests against the controversial citizenship law were removed till late this evening — hours after the Allahabad High Court order of a “forthwith” removal. There is a buzz that the government might challenge the High Court’s order in the Supreme Court. Quoting government sources, news agency ANI reported that the state will go to the Supreme Court after Holi.
Citing the Right to Privacy as a fundamental human right recognised by the Supreme Court, the judges said earlier today that the government’s move to display photographs and personal details of the accused on roadside hoardings was “an unwarranted interference in privacy”.
Asking the government to remove the posters “forthwith”, the court had asked it to submit a compliance report to the registrar general by March 16.
“We are examining the Allahabad High Court order. It is being examined on what basis the order was passed to remove the posters. Our experts are examining it,” Shalabh Mani Tripathi, media advisor to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Admitting that the court is “above all”, he spoke of “many options”.
“The government will decide what option to go for. The Chief Minister has to take the decision… But it is a fact that none of the people, who damaged public properties, will be spared,” ANI quoted him as saying.
The state government had questioned the grounds of the High Court taking up the matter, contending that the court had “erred in invoking public interest jurisdiction”. In response, the judges had said, “Courts are meant to impart justice and no court can shut its eyes if a public injustice is happening just before it”.
The hoardings – in which some people were asked to pay for damage to public property and warned of property attachment in case of non-compliance — were put up in various cities following the instructions of the Chief Minister, sources had said.
The judges said they were not concerned with the validity of the compensation, but “to the act about disclosure of personal details of the accused persons”.
Pulling up the state government, the court, in its judgment, had said the issue in question was “not about personal injury” to the persons named, but also the “injury caused to the precious constitutional value and its shameless depiction by the administration”.
The judgment was much criticised by BJP supporters on social media and hashtags #BehaveJustitutes and #wahrecourt became the top twitter trends by evening.
Uttar Pradesh had seen violent protests against the contentious citizenship law and a majority of the 22 people who died in the countrywide protests were from the state. Following several days of violent protests, Yogi Adityanath had spoken of “badla” (revenge) against the protesters, who have been “captured in video and CCTV footage”.
“All properties of those involved in damaging public assets will be seized and auctioned to compensate for the losses,” he had said.