Uttaranchal High Court: The Division Bench of Alok Singh and Rajiv Sharma, JJ. declared that petitioner who was a conscious keeper of the society shall be protected by the State and aided in his protest.

The petitioner was an 86 years old Sanyasi who has devoted his life to preserve, protect and conserve the holy river, Ganga, for which he has undertaken fasts against the construction of power projects on it. He was forcibly removed from Matri Sadan by the Police to some unknown destination without giving any information as to the whereabouts to his disciples which was clearly an inhuman treatment. He further pressed upon the fact that there was no occasion for him to end the fast since he was healthy and hearty and there was no imminent threat to his life. 

The Court observed that this act of the respondent was clearly inhuman and an arbitrary exercise by the respondent. It reiterated the fact that every citizen has a right to protest subject to just restrictions imposed by the State Government in larger public interest and petitioner by no way was exceeding those restrictions plus the respondent has the duty to maintain his dignity owing to the fact he was protesting for a just cause and rightfully has the right to maintain his conviction. Accordingly, the Court directed the respondents to:

  • Hold parleys with the petitioner to address the issue.
  • Disclose the identity of the place to his disciples where the petitioner has been kept by the police. 
  • Provide all the medical facilities to the petitioner under the supervision. 

The Court ended by saying that ‘rule of law must be followed at any cost.’ [Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand v. State of Uttarakhand, 2018 SCC OnLine Utt 1055, order dated 11-07-2018]

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