Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Ranjit Mahanti

THE Bombay High Court on Thursday asked 13 students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), who have been charged for obstructing the demolition of illegal slums, to meet the zonal deputy commissioner of police (DCP) and explain their stand.

According to sources, the students work with the community of pavement dwellers in suburban Deonar. The demolition squad of BMC arrived they were trying to reason out with the authorities not to carry out the demolition.

Additional public prosecutor Mankunwar Deshmukh, however, told the court that the police had tried to reason with the students and told them that the slums were illegal encroachments.Then an FIR was registered against them. Later studentsseeking to quash the FIR filed against them under section 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions) and 143 (punishment for unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code.

A division bench of Justices N H Patil and Anuja Prabhudesai was hearing a petition filed by students. The petitioner’s advocate told the court that the students had only asked the police if they had issued notice prior to the demolition drive which was carried out early this year. The advocate said the students are ready to apologise.

“You cannot obstruct a government official from doing his duty. The students might have used an authoritative tone with the police. Ask the students to go meet the Deputy Commissioner of Police of that area and explain their stand. If he is convinced then good,” Justice Patil said.

The court has posted the petition for hearing after two weeks.

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