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Meghalaya: HITO challenges Section 144 imposition on vote counting day in Shillong

Meghalaya: HITO challenges Section 144 imposition on vote counting day in Shillong

HITO has criticised the imposition of Section 144 by the East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner on vote counting day. They argue that the ban on victory processions and rallies violates citizens' fundamental rights and democratic freedoms.

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Meghalaya: HITO challenges Section 144 imposition on vote counting day in Shillong Meghalaya: HITO challenges Section 144 imposition on vote counting day in Shillong

Hynniewtrep Integrated Territorial Organization (HITO), on May 28, criticised the decision made by East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner SC Sadhu to impose Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) on the day of vote counting in Shillong as "disproportionate and unwarranted."

According to HITO, the order issued by the Deputy Commissioner on May 23 prohibits victory processions and rallies by any candidate or political parties within the district after the declaration of results. HITO argued that such restrictions violate citizens' Fundamental Rights under Article 14 and 19 of the Constitution of India, as well as other democratic rights, and are not supported by any sufficient justification.

In a letter addressed to the Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills, HITO stated that the blanket ban on rallies and processions across the entire district without reasonable justification is legally untenable and unnecessary. They emphasised that peaceful rallies and expressions of joy following election results are common and do not pose a threat to law and order.

Referring to the observations of the Supreme Court, HITO highlighted that the power under Section 144 CrPC should be exercised judiciously and proportionately to the prevailing circumstances. They argued that the mere apprehension of violence is not a valid reason to curtail citizens' fundamental rights.

HITO highlighted that there have been no incidents of violence, rendering the apprehension unwarranted. Despite this, the entire population of East Khasi Hills district is being deprived of their rights to freedom of expression and movement. HITO urged a reconsideration of the order to uphold democratic rights without unjust interference.

Edited By: Aparmita
Published On: May 28, 2024