“Can have communal overtones’: Delhi High Court turns down permission for “Muslim Mahapanchayat” on Oct 29

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to grant permission to an organization to hold a public meeting (All India Muslim Mahapanchayat) at the Ramlila Ground on October 29.

Justice Subramonium Prasad upheld the Delhi Police’s decision which had withdrawn the permission granted to the organisation for holding the meeting, observing that it cannot be held to be arbitrary. It was the police’s stand that the proposed event was “communal”.

The petitioners were Mission Save Constitution, an organisation which was founded by Advocate Mehmood Pracha. It claims to work for creating awareness among the masses, especially the depressed classes, about their constitutional rights. Justice Subramonium Prasad ruled that the period of end of Shraadh till Diwali is extremely auspicious for people belonging to the Hindu Community and that the posters of the organisation show that the event can have communal and religious overtones.

The court refused to grant permission for October 29 noting that during that time, several festivals will be celebrated. Besides, the court also said that the tenure of the posters of the organisation show that the event can have communal overtones and might increase communal tension in the Old Delhi area which has already witnessed communal tensions in the past.

Hence, the court observed that the “apprehension of the SHO of the concerned area” cannot be washed away by constitutional courts. It further said that though there is freedom to raise voice but the possibility of communal tension cannot be ignored.

While rejecting the petition,  the court however said that it is always open to the authorities, after the festive season is over, to consider afresh the organization’s plea for permission to hold the event. Justice Prasad ruled that the organisation’s fresh plea for permission will be considered by the authorities on its own merits, subject to the organisation providing a list of speakers and an undertaking that the meeting will not cause any communal tension.

The proposed event was scheduled for October 29. It was the organisation’s case in the petition that it sought to initiate a series of events, starting from the event, for strengthening of all weaker sections, including Muslim and other minority communities like SC, ST, OBC and that voices of “all the oppressed people” would be raised in the meeting.

The organisation had, therefore, challenged the Delhi Police’s decision to revoke the permission which was earlier granted. This was after the organisation refused to accept Police’s suggestion to change the nature of the call raise for the meeting. The petitioner organisation contended that the police’s letter revoking the permission suffered from “serious legal and constitutional infirmities” and was thus liable to be set aside.

“That the Muslim community is one of the weaker sections of the society, and is being attempted to be used as a fulcrum of polarising the Indian Polity, similar to the other weaker sections of the society such as the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, and other religious minorities,” the plea read. Counsel for the petitioner were R.H.A. Sikander,  Jatin Bhatt, Sanawar, and Harshit Gahlot. Apoorv Kurup, CGSC with Mr. Akhil Hasija appeared for respondents 1, Satyakam, ASC for GNCTD and Ms. Khushboo Nahar, ASC for the MCD, Kunal, for respondent 3.


Muslim Mahapanchayat in Uttarakhand to raise concerns over targeting of community

Haryana’s farmers’ Mahapanchayat: Fostering unity across communities, vowing for communal harmony

Growing calls for social and economic boycott of Muslims surfacing on social media, plea in the Supreme Court



Related Articles