The Delhi high court on Friday asked the Delhi police to shift protesters outside Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s house. Mayors of municipal corporations have been protesting outside the chief minister’s house demanding release of funds and clearance of dues.
The Delhi High Court also asked the Delhi Police to take firm steps to ensure that the directions imposed by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) are implemented. The Delhi Police also informed the court that they have earlier asked protesters to vacate the premises as Section 144 of the CrPC, which prohibits the gathering of four or more people, has been imposed in Flagstaff Road where the chief minister’s residence is located. They also said they asked protesters to follow the DDMA directive which prohibits any protest in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Police also apprised the Delhi HC that several requests have been made to protesters to vacate the premises but the protesters remained defiant.
Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said that the District Magistrate should issue an order asking protesters to vacate the premises. He said, “You have to shift them (protestors) . The District Magistrate has to pass an order. Otherwise an incorrect signal will go.”
The court has also listed the matter for hearing on December 21.
The Delhi High Court was hearing a plea by the Civil Lines Residents Association against the protests outside Arvind Kejriwal’s residence on grounds that it was causing inconvenience to residents as protester were blocking the road.
The Delhi High Court earlier had said that any venue cannot become a protest site as there are designated areas for protesting, like the Ramlila Maidan and Jantar Mantar. The court had said, “There is no problem if you come, protest and then go away. But this is going on for 11 days. Once you set a precedent, anyone will come and squat there. If this is permitted for all times to come, then you know what is the state of certain areas, like Ramlila ground and Jantar Mantar, where squatting and protests are permitted? We cannot have that kind of situation in a residential colony.”
The Delhi high court expressed concern when they heard reports that the mayors will run their offices from the protest site. South corporation mayor, Anamika Mithilesh Singh told HT on Tuesday that additional commissioners and heads of the departments were called to the protest site to discuss pending municipal work. She said, “We had called the additional commissioners and heads of the departments to discuss pending work. We have given them instructions that the municipal work shouldn’t suffer due to our protest. Now onwards, the files will be brought here for clearance.”
Mayors from Delhi’s municipal corporations and 22 BJP councillors have been protesting against the Delhi government since December 7 demanding release of Rs 13,000 crore to municipal corporations from the Delhi government.