Citizens can’t be externed for protesting against the government: Gujarat HC

THE Gujarat High Court Thursday quashed an order of the Ahmedabad city police to extern an accused booked for being a part of a crowd protesting against the National Register of Citizens and Citizenship Amendment Act (NRC & CAA) in 2019, from several districts.

A single-judge bench of Justice Paresh Upadhyay said “a citizen cannot be subjected to externment for raising his grievance against the Government”.

The bench was ruling on a petition filed by accused Mohammed Kaleem Siddiqui challenging the order passed by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, ‘A’ Division, Ahmedabad on 13.11.2020 whereby Siddiqui was externed for one year from districts – Ahmedabad (City and Rural), Gandhinagar, Kheda and Mehsana.

The high court had earlier stayed the operation of the externment order by an interim relief.

The Court held that the notice for externment was given to the petitioner considering two FIRs. However, the externment order was based on four FIRs, two of which were not even referred to in the notice. It thus said the order was liable to be quashed on this ground alone.

It also pointed that out of two FIRs reference to which was made in the notice, the petitioner was already acquitted. And another FIR was against a crowd of unknown persons who were demonstrating against the policy of the government regarding the CAA and NRC.

The court observed, “Citizen can not be subjected to externment for raising his grievance against the Government. On this count also, the externment order needs to be set aside”.

Click here to read the order