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

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - News - HT Correspondent let­ter­shcd@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

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