'Publicity Interest Litigation': Delhi HC Dismisses PIL for Release of 'Illegally' Detained Protesters

The high court directed the Centre and the police to take action in accordance with the law in the FIRs registered.

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Tuesday asked if a petition seeking the release of those who had been “illegally” detained for participation in the tractor rally on January 26 was a “publicity interest litigation.”

A bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh dismissed the PIL. The high court directed the Centre and the police to take action in accordance with the law in the FIRs registered.

The petitioner, a law graduate named Harman Preet Singh, claimed that he has come to know through news reports and social activists that people were detained from the Singhu, Ghaziabad and Tikri borders.

Singh had filed the PIL through advocates Ashima Mandla and Mandakini Singh. The Delhi Police on January 27 said that it has detained more than 200 persons in connection with the violence in the national capital on January 26 and 22 FIRs have also been registered thus far.

Also read: Farmers’ Tractor Rally: Delhi Police Arrests 84, to Examine Dump Data of Cellphone Calls

On Tuesday, during the hearing, advocate Mandla told the bench that according to news reports Delhi Police has lodged 44 FIRs in connection with the incident and around 120 persons had been detained.

She had argued that not signing of arrest memos, or informing next of kin and not producing them before a magistrate “falls within the contours of illegal detention”.

However, the court asked Singh for affidavits of the families of people who he has claimed were illegally detained. “It shouldn’t happen that today you claim they have been detained, and tomorrow their families present themselves here and claim otherwise,” Justice Patel was quoted by LiveLaw as having said.

The Republic Day rally by farmers, on tractors, met with police barricades, lathicharge and teargas, leaving protesters unfamiliar with the national capital confused. A section of protesters moved to the Red Fort, entered the premises and hoisted the Nishan Sahib there.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) B.K. Singh had recently said that Delhi Police is examining a dump data of calls made from mobile phones and the registration numbers of tractors in its probe into the day’s violence.

(With PTI inputs)