The Andhra Pradesh High Court suspended GO 1 till January 23 and directed the government to file a counter by January 20 before the regular bench. A PIL has been filed by CPI secretary Ramakrishna challenging the GO1. The lawyer who presented on behalf of the petitioner said that the freedom of expression and fundamental rights of the people have been preserved with the GO issued. The arguments were heard by the vacation bench headed by Justice Battu Devanand.
The AP government had issued the GO restricting public meetings and road shows on state and national highways. The order was issued in the light of 11 deaths that took place due to stampedes at public meetings held in Nellore and Guntur, organized by the TDP’s supremo Nara Chandrababu Naidu.
Raising objections to the PIL, Advocate General Shriram stated that the PIL is engineered to suit the vacation bench hearing. AG further pointed out the government has no information about the PIL submitted by Ramakrishna. He strongly opposed stating there is no scope for the matter related to the policy decision of the government to be included in the roster. He further added that the vacation bench should not hear the cases related to the policy decisions. Bringing in more clarity on GO 1, the AG argued that the word ban or prohibition on meetings has not been mentioned anywhere in the GO. He said “All the governments so far have been acting only under the police act. Courts should not read motivated newspapers. There has been propaganda unleashed by leaders without followers about the ban on processions and road shows which is incorrect.