Supreme Court stays proceedings in 2022 protest march case against Siddaramaiah

In a relief to Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, the Supreme Court on Monday stayed the proceedings in a 2022 protest march case filed against him and other Congress leaders. But the court also questioned how political protests differed from those led by normal citizens.

The Supreme Court also stayed a Karnataka High Court order that had dismissed his plea to quash an FIR lodged against him and the other party leaders, including general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala, and state ministers MB Patil and Ramalinga Reddy.

The High Court had also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on each petitioner.

The Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Hrishikesh Roy and Prashant Kumar Mishra said the next hearing of the case will take place after six weeks.

Appearing for the Karnataka Chief Minister, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said it was “political protest” and the case was a violation of the right to protest under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

But when the advocate said that a political protest should be viewed differently, Justice Mishra said, “Your argument is that if a politician does it, it should be allowed, but if a normal citizen does, it should not be? How can it be quashed just because it is done by a politician?”.

“Did you seek permission for the demonstration? You have not…on one fine morning you assemble in thousands and say nothing can happen to us because we are protesting,” he added.

Monday’s development came after Siddaramaiah on February 14 moved the Supreme Court against the Karnataka High Court order.

The case is in connection to the April 2022 protest march led by Congress members, which aimed to surround the residence of then Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in Bengaluru, demanding the resignation of former Minister KS Eshwarappa.

Eshwarappa had faced allegations of corruption linked to a contractor’s suicide.

Published By:

Karishma Saurabh Kalita

Published On:

Feb 19, 2024

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