No relief for man who participated in  ‘rasta roko’ against Maharashtra govt

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Anil Kilor at the Nagpur seat on Friday refused to grant any relief to a man booked for actively participating in a 'Rasta Roko Andolan' against the Maharashtra government despite the fact that he operated a Common Services Center (CSC) for offering various online services and facilities under the National e-Governance Action Plans as declared by the state.

According to Imran Khan, the owner of the CSC, he was operating it from the national highway number 44, which passes from the outskirts of Pandharkawada, Yavatmal.

As per the police records, a Bharat Bandh was called by a political outfit - Bahujan Kranti Morcha - on January 29, 2020. Several activists of the outfit assembled on the stretch of national highway No. 44, Pandharkawada, which was right in front of Khan's CSC.

"These persons started agitation and members obstructed the road traffic. That agitation was called as 'Rasta Roko.' Khan also allegedly took active part in the agitation," advocate AA Madiwale, for the Ministry of Information and Technology Department of the state.

The advocate further pointed out that because of this active participation, Khan was asked to leave the site by the police present on the spot but he didn't pay any heed.

"It was found by the Resident Deputy Collector, Yavatmal, that such conduct by Khan wasn't suitable for his being part of the Union government scheme for running CSC on behalf of Maharashtra and, therefore, it was recommended that the allotment of CSC to him be cancelled permanently," Madiwale submitted

Advocate Smita Taksande for Khan submitted that all the allegations made by the Resident Deputy Collector, Yavatmal, against her client were false. However, she admitted that her client was present in the unlawful assembly. "Even though my client was present there, he himself did not take any active part in stopping road traffic," Taksande argued.

Having considered the contentions, the bench noted the submission of Taksande and said there was no reason for Khan to come on the street and just be an onlooker along with those agitating.

"Reason being that Khan was discharging an onerous responsibility on behalf of the state and, therefore, when some criminal elements were indulging in illegal agitation, Khan should not have left his CSC and joined the persons who had formed the unlawful assembly even as an onlooker," the judges held.

"So, by his own admission, one can safely conclude that Khan had abandoned his duty and responsibility and that being so, we do not find that there is any substance in his case," the bench concluded.

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