LE Staff

Ahmedabad, August 5, 2021: The Gujarat High Court has ruled that the externment order passed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Godhra Prant, shortly after the petitioner raised objection over the MLA’s functioning, was prima facie without authority of law.

The single bench of Justice Paresh Upadhyay passed the stay order in reference to a petition challenging an order, whereby the petitioner was externed for a period of two years from several districts of Gujarat, in exercise of powers u/s 56(b) of the Gujarat Police Act, 1951

The petitioner’s plea was that as a citizen of this country, he had complained against the working of the MLA of Godhra Assembly Constituency, but as an offshoot of the said grievance, Mr. Malavdipsinh, son of the MLA, filed an FIR against the petitioner.

Justice Upadhyay noted a glaring aspect that the SDM had passed the order of externing the petitioner from Anand District, which was not only outside the local limits of his jurisdiction but that district was not even contiguous to the district in which the SDM was working, as contemplated u/s 56(b) of the Act. It was further observed that the Deputy Collector readily obliged by ordering externment of the petitioner, which was beyond his vested powers. 

“If the grievance of the citizen against local MLAs are to be dealt with in this manner, not only the citizen needs to be protected, even the response needs to be asked from the concerned MLA, whether he supports such an order,” added the Bench.

Finding that the basis of the externment order was principally three FIRs, the High Court asked if the externment order could be passed on the basis of the said FIRs. 

Holding the externment order to be unsustainable, the High Court stayed it until further orders.

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