The Allahabad High Court on Monday directed the Lucknow administration to remove posters of those accused of vandalism during anti-CAA protests in December.
The bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Ramesh Sinha directed the district magistrate and the Lucknow police commissioner to submit a report in this regard by March 16.
The court, which had on March 7 taken suo motu cognisance of the issue, on Sunday had termed the move “highly unjust” and said it was an “absolute encroachment on personal liberty of individuals”.
The posters bearing photographs, names and addresses of those accused of vandalism during the anti-CAA protests had come up at major road crossings in Lucknow late on Thursday night on the directions of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, an official had said.
The Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Congress welcomed the Allahabad High Court’s order.
“The government neither has the knowledge of right to privacy of citizens nor any respect for the Constitution. The people of the state are fed up with this government. We welcome the high court’s decision,” SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav said here.
BSP supremo Mayawati too welcomed the decision.
“The BSP welcomes the honourable high court's order directing the administration to remove hoardings of those accused of violence during the anti-CAA protests after taking suo motu cognisance of the matter,” Mayawati said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, Congress state president Ajay Kumar Lallu said the court’s decision has “exposed” the undemocratic and anti-constitution stand of the Adityanath government.
“The right to privacy is a fundamental right, but the government ignored it and put up posters of the accused which was unconstitutional and undemocratic,” Lallu said.
Stressing that it is for the court to decide whether the accused were involved in violence or not, Lallu said: “No charges have been proved against anyone yet.”
In Lucknow, around 50 people were identified by the police as alleged rioters and were served notices.
The posters said the property of the accused will be confiscated if they fail to pay compensation.
Activist-politician Sadaf Jafar and former IPS officer S R Darapuri were among those whose photos appeared on the posters.
Jafar had termed the UP government’s move ‘unethical’. “How can we be publicly humiliated for something that has not yet been proved in the court?” she had questioned.
“This is not Afghanistan. Legal issues cannot be brought into public like this. Our bail order says there is no adequate evidence against us,” Jafar told PTI. “We are not absconding,” she said, adding that they have appeared before the court and police whenever asked.
During the hearing on Sunday, the Uttar Pradesh government had asserted that it was a “deterrent” action and the court should not interfere in such a matter.
On Sunday, as the bench rose, it had expressed hope that “good sense would prevail” on the state and it would remove the hoardings before 3 pm and apprise the court about this at that time. The court then had reserved its order till 2 pm on Monday.
Also read: Fact-finding Report from UP: Young Victims of State Violence Narrate Ordeal