The Bombay High Court upheld a police order barring Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi from speaking on ‘Hindu Muslim harmony’ at a function in Thane, saying it could not interfere with administrative order.
A division bench of Justices N H Patil and V L Achiliya rejected a petition filed by Abdul Rauf Khan, member of ‘My Mumbra Foundation’ which is organising the programme on February 8, asking the court to direct police to allow Owaisi to address the event.
“That is the job of the administration. Even they (police) cannot say for sure that there will be a situation. You never know when a peaceful mob can go violent. All these issues are the administration’s lookout. We cannot interfere,” Justice Patil said.
According to the petition, president of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Owaisi is among several speakers invited. Thane police refused to grant permission to the NGO to hold the function, fearing law and order problem.
“Yesterday, Owaisi was informed that an order under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code has been passed against him, banning his entry in Thane jurisdiction. Such an order is a curb on his fundamental rights of speech and expression,” the petition said.
Advocate General Darius Khambata, representing the government, argued that police were willing to grant permission to the function if the NGO agrees to remove Owaisi’s name from the speakers’ list.
The High Court said it was not in the position to judge whether the programme will cause a law and order problem.
The court also noted that Owaisi can challenge the order passed by the police banning his entry in a separate petition. “Why are you as an NGO deviating from your original cause and fighting for one person? The NGO can still hold the function,” the court said.
The bench, while dismissing the petition, added that the NGO can submit a fresh application to the police seeking permission to hold the function after dropping Owaisi.