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Home Critical Analysis/Archives ERROR AT THE APEX
The Error Multiplied
The Willis Cox
State of New Hampshire
Abdul Qadeer J also relied on The Willis Cox Vs State of New Hampshire. The Willis Cox Case also related to regulation with regard to time, place and manner. The sole charge against the appellants was that they were taking part in a parade or procession on a public street without a permit required by the statute. The Court held that statute, requiring persons using the public street for a parade or procession to procure a special license from the local authorities did not constitute an unconstitutional interference with religion. Mr. Justice Hughes delivered the opinion of the court and statute requiring such permit or license was validated and observed that:
“The sole charge against the appellants was that they were “taking part in a parade or procession” on the public streets without a permit as the statute required. They were not prosecuted for distributing leaflets or for conveying information by placards or otherwise, or for issuing invitations to a public meeting or for holding a public meeting or for maintaining or expressing religious beliefs. Their right to do any one of these things apart from engaging in a “parade or procession” upon a public street is not here involved and the question of the validity of a statute addressed to any other sort of conduct than that complained of is not before us” [29]
(emphasis added)
“The authority of a municipality to impose regulations in order to assure the safety and convenience of the people in the use of public highways has never been regarded as inconsistent with civil liberties, but rather as one of the means of safe-guarding the good order upon which they ultimately depend.” [30]
And further that:
As regulation of the use of the streets for parades and processions is a traditional exercise of control by local government, the question in a particular case is whether that control is exerted so as not to deny or unwarrantedly abridge the right of assembly and the opportunities for the communication of thought and the discussion of public questions immemorially associated with resort to public places. [31]
The court finally observed:
No interference with religious worship or the practice of religion in any proper sense is shown, but only the exercise of local control over the use of streets for parades and processions.“’ [32]
(emphasis added)
This case also could not serve the purpose of supporting an argument validating Ordinance XX which was under challenge in Zaheer-ud-Din’s case.
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