New Delhi: A Delhi court has acquitted former Delhi minister Rajender Pal Gautam, AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak and 36 others in a case of holding protest against rising petrol and diesel prices despite prohibitory orders in view of COVID-19 pandemic in September 2020.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vaibhav Mehta said the prosecution failed to prove beyond doubt whether the prohibition order was duly communicated to the protesters before they were detained and an FIR was
The prosecution also failed to prove that the accused persons were part of the illegal gathering and were present at the spot in violation of the prohibitory notification.
The court further observed that it could be reasonably believed that the accused persons were not aware of the notification prohibiting large gathering.
"There is no proof showing that the accused persons were informed either by loudspeakers/ banners/ placards regarding imposition of the prohibition issued under Section 144 CrPC prohibiting large gatherings," the court said.
According to police, on September 1, 2020 the accused persons had organised a protest in view of rising prices of petrol and diesel despite being explained that on account of spread of COVID-19 pandemic, such kind of gathering, protest, rally was not
Police also submitted that section 144 CrPC was in force in entire Delhi and such a gathering was not allowed, however, the accused disobeyed the order.
Therefore, an FIR under section 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant)/ 34 (common intention) of IPC
In its judgment passed on November 25, the court noted that the prosecution did not place on record any evidence to prove the factum of communication of the prohibition order, and there was no videography or photographs placed on record in that
"The prosecution has not placed on record anything to show that public address system was used by the police to give any warning to the public or to show that the persons who had gathered were apprised about the imposition of section 144 CrPC and in what mode and manner this was communicated," it said.