Delhi HC allows holding of seminar on 'fascism' after Delhi Police denies permission

The Delhi Police on Thursday issued a letter of cancellation on March 9, two days prior to the scheduled dates of the seminar to be held through March 11-12

Delhi High Court
Delhi High Court

NH Digital

The Delhi High Court on Friday allowed the holding of a national seminar of the members of a collective called "Bharat Bachao" and asked the organisers to provide a list of participants and their details to police.

Justice Tushar Rao Gedela asked the parties to cooperate with each other to ensure that the seminar is held in a peaceful atmosphere and there is no untoward incident.

Gade Inna Reddy and Mondru Francis Gopinath had approached the court with a grievance that the Delhi Police unilaterally denied them permission to organise the private programme, titled "Understanding Fascism in Present India Context", two days before the event was to be held on March 11-12 at the HKS Surjeet Bhavan in New Delhi.

The Delhi Police on Thursday issued a letter of cancellation stating that the "Bharat Bachao" collective are an "anonymous group" and that the police have not been able to acquire the "details of the anonymous group", therefore claiming that the group could "create disturbance in law and order" by conducting a seminar.

The petitioners said they are members of "Bharat Bachao", a collective of scholars, social activists, advocates and politicians, among others, and want to voice their opinions about issues pertaining to the society at large.

Delhi HC allows holding of seminar on 'fascism' after Delhi Police denies permission

The Delhi government's counsel submitted that permission for holding the seminar may be granted subject to certain conditions imposed by the court and the "anxiety" of police officials may be satisfied if some information is provided to them.

"In view of the aforesaid and keeping in view the apprehension of some mishappening in the mind of the respondents, this court deems it fit to pass the following directions: The petitioners shall compile a list of invitees to the two days' seminar with complete details as to their residence and their identity cards and submit the same to the SHO, IP Estate by today (Friday) 09:00 pm, so as to enable the SHO, IP Estate to place on his record the number of invitees who are participating in the two days' seminar," the court ordered.

It added that with respect to the invitees who would reach Delhi by Saturday, a similar list would be handed over to police by noon and the petitioners shall also provide the contact number of the responsible person of the organisation to police.

The court took on record the petitioners' assurance that there shall be no cause of any untoward incident so far as the organising committee and the participants are concerned.

The Delhi Police's "arbitrary" order of cancellation has been called out by social activists and journalists on Twitter.

The petitioners, represented by senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, said there are 10 keynote speakers for the seminar and the other participants are also strictly on invitation basis.

In their plea filed through lawyer Sravan Kumar, the petitioners said they have already organised seminars throughout the country and about 500 members of the collective are slated to attend the event here.

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