SAD leader Parkash Singh Badal (File Photo)
A single judge bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Saturday morning overturned the government’s decision to decline permission to Shiromani Akali Dal for a rally in Faridkot on Sunday. The Punjab government had on Friday refused to allow the Opposition party to hold the rally, citing intelligence reports that indicated the public meeting could lead to law and order problem in the area.
Acting on the petition moved by SAD, Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain stayed the government decision and held that the Opposition party was entitled to hold the rally. The single judge also directed the government to ensure proper security arrangements at the rally venue on Sunday. The stay was granted ex-parte as no counsel appeared on behalf of the government.
However, the government later challenged the single bench decision. An urgent division bench was constituted following orders from the Chief Justice for hearing the appeal.
During the hearing around 4:00 PM, the division bench of Justices Ajay Kumar Mittal and Arun Palli rapped the government and observed that the state could have made a representation before the single judge during the previous hearing or moved a caveat in the case filed by SAD after a notice was given for its hearing on Friday afternoon.
The division bench has now given the government liberty to approach the single bench again with an application for vacation of the ex-parte stay. The government has been provided time till 6:30 PM to file the application and the single bench has been requested to take up the case immediately.
Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda, during the hearing before the division bench, told the Court that the permission for the rally had been denied on the basis of inputs from Central government agencies and apprehension of a law and order problem.
Nanda also argued that the single bench had passed the stay order without hearing the government and could have called him to the court during the hearing in view of the grave nature of the matter. Saturday is a non-working day in the High Court. The government is currently in the process of moving the application for vacation of stay.