Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on GO-1, vis-à-vis restrictions on public meetings on roads in the state. The hearing of the case was over and the verdict would be delivered within a week.

A divisional bench of Chief Justice Prashant Mishra held hearings here on a batch of petitions challenging GO-1. The bench again expressed its displeasure with the vacation bench’s interim order imposing a stay on the GO and said it knew what happened the day the vacation bench issued the interim order.

The division bench would not disclose these matters, however, bearing in mind the need to protect the “inviolability and honor” of the judiciary. However, the bench observed that if he had not mentioned this, as he did, it could cause problems for future chief justices.

The bench said two paras on the list set by the Chief Justice for administrative reasons had been changed, resulting in a change to the original list. He wondered why some political parties were shouting at GO-1 as if someone’s house was on fire.

Siddarth Luthra, lawyer for one of the petitioners and head of the TD, Kollu Ravindra, argued that only the police had the power to regulate public meetings, rallies and dharnas and that “the state government does not has no say in it”.

He argued that the recent scuffles took place because police failed to provide adequate security at public TD meetings.

Lawyer for BJP leader Kanna Lakshminarayana, T Sridhar argued that political parties have the right to protest in different forms and denying this right is not good for society.

PA Congress leader Gidugu Rudra Raju’s lawyer, Ravi Sankar, argued that the prime ministers and chief ministers had organized several rounds of touring padayatras, including current chief minister Jagan Reddy. The DGP must act independently to authorize public meetings, he said.

The lawyer for ICC secretary Ramakrishna, Ashwani Kumar, said the vacation bench had discretion to hear urgent cases.

Advocate General Sriram argued that the state government had no intention of imposing a ban on rallies and roadshows. He said he had a responsibility to ensure the protection of the population. The state government would make a decision depending on the circumstances and even allow TD chief Nara Lokesh to take out a padayatra, he said.

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