HC allows SAD to hold rally in Faridkot today
Asks it to steer clear of Bargari where radicals are holding dharna demanding arrest of sacrilege accused
CHANDIGARH : After three rounds of hearings by different benches on Saturday, the Punjab and Haryana high court allowed Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to hold its “Pol Khol” rally in Faridkot on Sunday, asking the party to steer clear of Bargari, where Sikh radical are holding protest since June 1.
The high court bench of justice RK Jain allowed the rally and did not give credence to law and order apprehensions cited by the state government.
The government had on Friday banned the SAD rally, citing intelligence inputs that it could become a flashpoint between the radicals staging a protest and the Akalis.
On Saturday morning, the single judge bench set aside the Faridkot SDM’s order of refusing the
permission for the rally. But on state government’s request, a special division bench met at 4pm.
Punjab advocate general Atul Nanda apprised the division bench that the order was passed without hearing the state. Later, the special bench referred matter to the single judge bench.
At 7pm, Nanda argued before the single judge bench that prohibitory order was in place in Faridkot, which court was not apprised by the petitioners. However, the court questioned Nanda why it was not mentioned in the order passed by the SDM. The court also questioned Nanda why he did not depute someone
for the hearing.
“The entire Punjab knew about it... how you people did not know... I waited for state till 11.30am... you people were watching proceedings from outside the court,” the judge observed. The single judge bench then deferred the hearing and asked the registry to contact the Akali Dal’s counsel. The final round of hearing began at 8pm.
Akali Dal’s lawyer Ashok Aggarwal alleging that even as court has allowed the rally, the government was making efforts to thwart it. He said that the party was in the process of filing a contempt plea. He also junked state’s claim on intelligence inputs and said the radicals’ Bargari protest was state-sponsored.
After two rounds of discussions on the routes to be taken for the rally, the court gave permission with restrictions on roads around Bargari.
Both Bajakhana to Kotkapura route via Bargari and the old route from Kotkapura to Faridkot will remain closed on Sunday, but the new highway from Kotkapura to Faridkot and the road from Bajakhana to Faridkot via Jaitu will remain open for public use.