Allow Teenmar Mallanna to campaign: Telangana HC to police

Hyderabad: Telangana High Court directed Nalgonda district police not to interfere with the campaigning of Teenmar Mallanna alias Ch Naveen Kumar in the Huzurnagar by-election. The Court made it clear that the police have no authority to stop the candidate from campaigning.

Mallanna, a popular TV show host, is contesting in the tight by-election in Huzurnagar as an independent candidate. Earlier, he filed a Writ Petition in the High Court alleging that the Station House Officer of the Mellacheruvu police station is deliberately and unreasonably obstructing him from campaigning. He added that the officer had also abused him on caste lines using foul language.

After hearing the petition on Wednesday afternoon, Justice A Rajashekar Reddy passed interim orders directing the District Superintendent of Police and SHO of Mellacheruvu PS not to interfere in the campaigning of the petitioner. The judge stated that the right to contest is a statutory right, and it includes the right to campaign as well.

Once a competent authority under the Representation of People Act, 1951, has accepted the petitioner’s nomination as an independent candidate, he has the right to campaign. It can be curtailed only per the law. Maintaining that the SHO has no authority to stop the petitioner from campaigning, the judge posted the case to October 18 for further hearing. He directed the respondent authorities to file counter-affidavits by then.

Earlier, the counsel for the petitioner submitted that, despite obtaining necessary permissions, the petitioner was being prevented from campaigning on one or the other ground. He also stated that the SHO used foul language against the petitioner on caste lines. A video recording of the same was submitted to the Court as proof.

The counsel for the Election Commission of India submitted that the petitioner is supposed to follow the Model Code of Conduct prescribed by the ECI. The Government pleader informed the Court that permission was not granted to the petitioner and that is why the police prevented him from campaigning. If necessary permits are obtained, the police have no objection in allowing him to campaign. The Court urged the petitioner to get the required permission from the police if any has to be taken.

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