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‘Can’t have everyone on road’: SC pulls up Shaheen Bagh protesters, calls for dialogue


New Delhi, Feb 17: The Supreme Court on Monday appointed senior advocate Sanjay Hegde and Sadhna Ramachandran as interlocutor to convince the Shaheen Bagh protesters to lift the road blockade and move it elsewhere.

The court also suggested that the duo pick a third person or possible talk to former CIC Wajahat Habibullah and ask him to join them.

Supreme Court

"We are not saying that people don't have the right to raise their concerns. The question is where to protest? Because if this continues on the roads today for this legislation, tomorrow it could be done for another legislation," a two-judge bench comprising justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph observed.

"Democracy works on expression of views. But there are lines and boundaries. They can protest and need not wait for the Supreme Court judgment (on the Citizenship Amendment Act). But the issue is, is a road the place to hold protests," said Justice Kaul.

The court also pointed out that there are alternative spaces earmarked for protests such as Ramlila Maidan and Jantar Mantar. The grievance may be genuine, but roads can't be blocked over it as it will create chaos, the court said.

"When strong views emerge, you cannot say don't put forth your strong views. Those things don't trouble us. Only thing troubling is blocking of a public road," Justice Kaul added.

The protesters, mainly women, have been staging a sit-in against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR) for the past two months.

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