Quashing the police's externment order against the organiser of an anti-CAA protest, the Gujarat High Court observed that citizens cannot be externed or thrown out for raising their grievance against the government.
Justice Paresh Upadhyay on Thursday set aside an externment order issued by the Ahmedabad city police against 39-year-old activist Kaleem Siddiqui.
As per the externment order, issued in November last year, Mr Siddiqui was barred from entering Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Kheda and Mehsana districts for a period of one year.
Mr Siddiqui then challenged the order in the High Court, which had stayed its execution in March.
Inspired by the agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Delhi's Shaheen Baug, Mr Siddiqui and a few others had organised a sit-in protest in Rakhiyal area between January and March last year.
In December 2019, the city police had lodged an FIR of unlawful assembly against unknown persons for holding demonstrations against the CAA and NRC, and claimed that Mr Siddiqui had been a part of the crowd.
This was one of the two FIRs, which became the basis for Mr Siddiqui's externment, the High Court noted.
"As far as the second FIR of December 2019 is concerned, it was against a crowd of unknown persons who were demonstrating against the policy of the Government on the NRC/CAA. The petitioner is stated to be one of the persons in the said crowd," the court order stated.
"A citizen cannot be subjected to externment for raising his grievance against the Government. On this count also, the externment order needs to be set aside," Justice Upadhyay said.
While giving relief to the petitioner, the court also noted that of the two FIRs mentioned by the Ahmedabad police in its externment order, Mr Siddiqui had already been acquitted in the case filed in 2018.
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