Farmers' protest: Delhi HC dismisses PIL seeking release of those 'illegally detained' at tractor rally
While dismissing the plea, the division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh observed that this 'appears to be a publicity interest litigation'
The Delhi High Court Tuesday dismissed a PIL seeking immediate release of protesters "illegally detained" by police during the farmers' tractor rally on Republic Day and said, "no relief without entering into merits of FIRs and investigation".
The court further directed the police to complete investigation in the FIRs registered against protesters and take action in accordance with law, Bar and Bench reported.
Court directs @DelhiPolice to complete the investigation in the FIR registered by it and take action in accordance with law.
Petiton is dismissed: Court
— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) February 2, 2021
"Within 24 hours, the arrested persons will have to be produced before the nearest magistrate," said the court.
While dismissing the plea, the division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh observed that this "appears to be a publicity interest litigation".
The plea was filed by law graduate Harman Preet Singh through advocates Ashima Mandla and Mandakini Singh.
The petitioner claimed that he had come to know through personal survey, news reports and social activists that "people were illegally detained from the Singhu, Ghaziabad and Tikri borders, in the absence of an FIR, thereby violating the basic fabric of liberty."
Singh, further stated in his petition that the Delhi Police on 27 January said that it has detained over 200 people in connection with the violence in the National Capital on 26 January and 22 FIRs have also been registered thus far.
"Furthermore, through personal data collection, the petitioner has the names of 15 people out of the aforementioned set of persons, who have been missing and detained since 26 and 27 January, and despite a passage of over four days, no legally tenable reason has surfaced supporting such detention," it said.
The petition contends that assuming that the FIRs have been registered against the 200 detained persons, not signing of arrest memos, or informing next of kin and not producing them before a magistrate "falls within the contours of illegal detention".
"It is the humble submission on behalf of the petitioner that assuming the Delhi Police has registered FIRs qua the aforementioned 200 persons, the failure to comply with signing of the arrest memo and/or informing the next of kin within a period of 8-12 hours, and non-production of the persons before the magistrate under section 167 CrPC, falls within the contours of 'illegal detention'," it said.
The tractor parade in Delhi on 26 January that was meant to highlight the demands of farmer unions to repeal three new agri laws witnessed violence, as thousands of protesters broke through barriers, fought with the police, overturned vehicles and hoisted a religious flag from the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort.
On 12 January, the Supreme Court had stayed the implementation of the contentious new farm laws till further orders and constituted a four-member committee to make recommendations to resolve the impasse over them between the Centre and farmers' unions protesting at Delhi borders.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at various border points of Delhi for over two months now against the three laws — the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act.
With inputs from PTI
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