The Madras High Court has held that the power to grant permission for protests or reject the same is vested with the police department.
Justice V Sivagnanam gave the ruling while closing a contempt petition from the president of Valparai Thiravida Thotta Thozhilalar Munnetra Sangam, a workers’ union recently.
According to the petitioner, the government has revised the minimum wages from Rs 345 to 425 by a notification issued in July, 2021. As the government failed to implement the same, the association decided to hold a procession by walking from Valparai to Coimbatore and hand over a representation expressing their grievances signed by thousands of workers to the Collector. They applied for permission, but the Valparai police refused on September, 8 this year. Hence, a writ petition was filed and the court on October 14 directed the police to consider the plea. However, the police refused permission again. Petitioner preferred the present contempt application to punish the SP and Police Commissioner of Police of Coimbatore.
The Additional Public Prosecutor submitted that the permission was rejected after considering the circumstances prevailing in Valparai and other areas.
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Closing the contempt petition, the judge observed that the discretion is left with the police to grant or not to grant permission by exercising the discretionary power. Based upon the circumstances, the police has rejected the petitioner’s request on October 26. ”Therefore, I find no willful disobedience of this Court order. Hence, I find no reason to take action on the contempt petition”, the judge said.