Saturday, November 26, 2022

Shaheen Bagh: SC issues notice to Centre, Delhi government, says “protesters can’t block a road”

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The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre, Delhi government and the Delhi Police, while hearing a plea seeking removal of protesters from Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh. The anti-Citizenship law protests have been going on at Shaheen Bagh for around 2 months now.

A bench led by Justice Sanjay Krishna Kaul said that the Shaheen Bagh protesters cannot block a public road and cause inconvenience for common people.

However, the bench said that people are entitled to protest but they have to do so in an area designated for protests.

Listing the matter on Feb 17, the court said that it is not going to pass any order without hearing the other party.

SC had adjourned the hearing listed on Friday, a day before Delhi polls, saying that it did not want to “influence” the election.

A bench comprising Justice SK Kaul and KM Joseph had said, “We understand there is a problem and we have to see how to resolve it. We will take it up on Monday. We will be in a better position by then.”

The plea filed by BJP leader Nand Kishore and others seeks “comprehensive and exhaustive guidelines” for restrictions on protest and agitation in public places, in view of the continuous sit-in protest at Shaheen Bagh.

An advocate appearing for one of the petitioners said that voting for Delhi election is scheduled on February 8, the bench said, “Since you ask, that’s precisely why we are posting it on Monday. Why should we influence it?”

The bench also asked the petitioners to come prepared on Monday to argue the case and also why the petitioner didn’t approach Delhi High Court first.

Around 700 women have been camping day and night for over 50 days now and have refused to move till the controversial statute is withdrawn.

Earlier on January 14, a High Court bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar had held that the police have all power, jurisdiction, and authority to control the traffic, wherever protests or agitations are going on, in the larger public interest.

While disposing of the petition filed by advocate and activist Amit Sahni, the Court had said that maintaining law and order is a state function and concerned authorities should look into it in the larger interest of public.

The Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh Stretch i.e. Road No. 13 A (between Mathura Road and Kalindi Kunj) as well as Okhla underpass, were closed on December 15, 2019, due to ongoing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) as a temporary measure, but the road closure was extended from time to time till date.

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