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Protest but Don’t Block Roads: SC to Shaheen Bagh Protesters

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During the hearing on the petition related to Shaheen Bagh in the SC on Monday, the court made strict remarks. The court said that no matter how legitimate the reasons for the protests are, we cannot block such roads. The court said that it is not that we do not have the right to protest but the question is where to protest. Today the performance is happening here, tomorrow it will be somewhere else. If this continues, different areas of the city will be blocked. The court clearly said that people have the right to protest but cannot block the roads.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that let a message not go that every institution is on its knees trying to persuade Shaheen Bagh protestors on this issue. If nothing works, we will leave it to the authorities to deal with the situation, the apex court said. The apex court had on February 10 said the anti-CAA protestors, who are holding agitation at Shaheen Bagh, cannot block public roads and create inconvenience for others. The top court had said that people are entitled to protest but it has to be done in an area identified for agitations and it cannot be done on a public road or a park.

In the petition filed on Shaheen Bagh’s road to Kalindi Kunj, the petitioner’s counsel said that in 2017, the Supreme Court had made guidelines regarding the demonstration. That order is not being followed. The road is blocked. The court said that we are aware of the guidelines. The court said that such a demonstration would set a wrong example. In this way, some other way will be blocked tomorrow.

The court said, “It is very important that people are allowed to express their grievance. Judicial review is there but people have the right to protest against the legislation. Opinion formation takes place when there is a protest. Every right has to be coupled with responsibility. You have a right to protest but there is a larger issue of competing interests.”