The Karnataka High Court on Friday dismissed the interim prayer of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Pravin Togadia to stay the police ban on his entry into this city to attend a religious convention Feb 8.
Upholding the ban order imposed by city Police Commissioner M.N. Reddi on Togadia Tuesday, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, however, observed that his petition was maintainable and he had the right to appeal in a higher court for relief.
The week-long ban from Feb 5-11 barred Togadia from entering the city and participating in public meetings or functions for seven days on the grounds that his provocative and inflammatory speeches would have grave consequences and cause breach of peace.
The VHP had invited Togadia to participate in its convention `Vishwa Hindu Samajotsava` in the city Feb 8.
Earlier, Togadia’s counsel B.V. Acharya told the court that banning his client`s entry into the city was against the fundamental right of a citizen and constitutional rights of freedom of speech and expression.
“The police commissioner did not have the authority to impose the ban, which was the prerogative of the state government in exceptional cases. The state or police cannot curtail the right to freedom of action,” Acharya told the judge during the hearing.
State advocate general Ravivarma Kumar, however, defended the ban on Togadia, as he was a “dangerous man who could disrupt communal harmony in the state through provocative speeches”.
Acharya also told the court that Togadia was ready to give an undertaking that he would not make any provocative speech and his address and presence could be video-recorded and produced in the court as evidence.
Law enforcing agencies in many states, including Karnataka, have registered 19 criminal cases against Togadia for allegedly making inflammatory statements and disrespecting the constitution in the recent past.