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‘UP govt ‘name and shame’ hoardings breach of personal liberty’

‘UP govt ‘name and shame’ hoardings breach of personal liberty’
Allahabad High Court.
LUCKNOW, MAR 8 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 3/8/2020 12:06:00 PM IST

The Allahabad High Court was critical of Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to put up hoardings of reported anti-CAA protestors with their photo, name, and addresses across Lucknow on Sunday, saying that it was “an absolute encroachment on personal liberty of individuals”.

A Division Bench of the court headed by Chief Justice Govind Mathur took suo motu cognizance of the case. The court commented that it hoped that good sense would prevail on the state and it would remove the hoardings before 3 pm and apprise the court about this at the time of the court hearing. The case has now been adjourned until 3 pm at the request of the state government. The advocate general will appear to assist the court at that time. 

 The Lucknow administration, on Friday, had put up about 100 hoardings with photographs of the anti-CAA protesters.

The names, photographs and residential addresses of suspects were listed on the hoardings, sparking fear among those named on the hoardings. They have also been asked to pay for the damages to public and private property within a stipulated time, or have their properties attached by the district administration.

The move has attracted strong reactions from protesters, political parties, ordinary citizens, legal experts, and social activists, who slammed the idea of public shaming in this manner. 

In one particular photograph put up on the hoardings, the photograph of a minor is also seen. The family of the minor said that they are preparing to seek legal redressal in the matter. 

“The hoarding has been put up by the ‘orders of the District Magistrate and Police Commissioner’ and they owe an explanation to us,” said a family member. A source at the chief minister’s office claimed hoardings in Lucknow were put up on instructions of Chief Minister Adityanath. On Friday, sources in the Chief Minister’s Office sent an unsigned two-page note justifying the hoardings. They said they were put up keeping larger public interest in mind and after following all rules.

Among those named in the hoardings are activist-politician Sadaf Jafar, lawyer Mohammed Shoaib, theatre personality Deepak Kabir and former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer SR Darapuri.

All of them are out on bail and have said they will contest in court any move by the government to attach their property.

Calling the government’s move unethical, Sadaf Jafar said, “I’m not absconding... It’s pathetic to put our names and addresses here”.

“We were arrested, assaulted, sent to jail and then given bail. Now this is a new tactic to put pressure on us. I got a recovery notice while in jail. I sent a letter via the jail superintendent asking how I could plead my case when I was in jail. I got no reply. No one listened to me and then they sent me a recovery order,” Deepak Kabir said.

Massive violence had broken out across Uttar Pradesh in December last year after protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act turned violent at many places. As part of the crackdown, thousands were arrested across the violence-hit districts in the state and charges of rioting and attempted murder were filed against them.

Police claimed some 60 personnel were hit by bullets across the state while trying to control mobs. Critics have criticised police action and accused policemen of using excessive force.

 

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