The Jharkhand High Court allowed the Hanumant Katha Aayojan Samiti (Samiti) to organise “Hanumant Katha” in the backdrop of the State authorities denying permission for the same.

The Court held that the restriction on the organization of a congregation should be in consonance with the grounds mentioned in Article 19(3) of the Constitution.

The Samiti had filed a writ petition seeking a court directive for the authorities to take action on their application, requesting consent and permission to organize a "Hanumant Katha". The Samiti argued that the authorities were "sitting tight over the application"

The said request was rejected by the State Government on no substantive grounds, as per the Samiti.

A Single Bench of Justice Ananda Sen observed, “The respondents in the impugned order has only mentioned that there would be a law and order problem without describing the nature and its extent thereof. During course of argument they have taken a plea about shortage of sitting arrangement, parking space and shortage of volunteers to manage the crowd. These grounds even if are accepted to be existing are not “law and order problem”, far less disturbance of “public order”. These at best can be said to be infrastructural short comings.

Advocate Rishabh Kaushal represented the petitioner, while AAG Sachin Kumar appeared for the respondents.

The Court explained that Article 19(1)(b) of the constitution provided the fundamental right to assemble peacefully without arms. However, this right is not unfettered and has some restrictions which are enshrined in Article 19(3) of the Constitution.

The Court remarked, “Ground for restricting or limiting the right conferred under Article 19(1)(b) of the Constitution of India can only be on the restrictions mentioned in Article 19(3) of the Constitution of India. No other restrictions can be imported in Article 19(3) of the Constitution of India to refuse or restrict any assembly which is being organized peacefully without arms.

The Court pointed out that the government’s counter-affidavit did not mention anything related to the restrictions envisaged under Article 19(3) of the Constitution. The government had compared the situation to another chaotic one in Patna and submitted that the huge public presence could create a problem of law and order. The Court held, “These grounds are not at all valid grounds to restricts this petitioner to organize the said congregation or to refuse permission.

The Court, citing the difference between law and order and public order, held “The issue of threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India or “public order” has to be the ground to deny permission, but the ground which the respondents have taken is of “law and order problem”. There is difference between law and order and public order.”

Subsequently, the Court directed the Samiti to provide a detailed plan indicating the number of devotees expected to attend the congregation to the government and police authorities so they could make necessary arrangements to ensure the minimum basic facilities and amenities were provided to the devotees attending the said congregation.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the writ petition.

Cause Title: Hanumant Katha Aayojan Samiti v. The State of Jharkhand & Ors.


Petitioner: Advocate Rishabh Kaushal

Respondents: AAG Sachin Kumar and AC to AAG Rohit

Click here to read/download the Order