The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday while hearing a PIL pertaining to the ongoing protests for Maratha reservation in the state, said that “while it is the right of every individual or group of persons to express their aspirations, it is a duty of state government to maintain law and order and peace and tranquillity in society at any cost”.
“Every individual or group of persons has got fundamental right to protest, however, it should necessarily be by peaceful means and if there is any breach of the same, it is the bounden duty of the State to prevent such breach,” a bench of Chief Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Arun R Pednekar noted.
The court referred to a statement made by Advocate General Birendra Saraf that administration is equally concerned with the situation and various efforts have been made to prevent any untoward incident and to maintain law and order in the state.
The bench stated, “We have no reason to believe that the State authorities shall not take appropriate action which may be warranted under law, not only to maintain peace, tranquillity and the law and order but also to take care of health and well being of all.”
The Court also said that it expected from the protestors and agitators that “they shall not indulge in any kind of activities which may even remotely pose any threat to the peace and order in the society”.
The bench was hearing a PIL by one Nilesh Baburao Shinde which raised concerns about deteriorating law and order on account of ongoing agitation by a section of society demanding reservation in public employment and education.
Advocate Mahesh S Deshmukh for the petitioner claimed that the protestors are organising dharnas and hunger strikes at a village, Antarwali (Sarati) in Jalna district and that there were conflicting aspirations and interests from various corners of the state, a confrontation, as such would pose threat to the law and order situation in the district.
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The PIL sought direction to take appropriate steps to maintain law and order situation and to provide possible medical help wherever needed.
After AG Saraf made a statement that the state government is taking sufficient efforts to deal with the situation, the petitioner claimed that the incidents taking place in state for last two weeks indicate lack of efforts by state due to which certain vehicles have been put on fire and ruckus was being created at various places, causing large scale disruption in public life.
Passing directions for state and protestors, the bench posted further hearing to October 11.
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