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SC denies to issue blanket order against invoking NSA on anti-CAA protestors

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New Delhi, Jan 24: The Supreme Court on Friday said that it cannot issue blanket orders restraining authorities from invoking the stringent National Security Act (NSA) against the citizens protesting the enactment of Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

Beside, saying that NSA cannot be allowed to be misused the apex court has also added that there cannot be a general command as public properties are being burnt during the protests and it may be organised.

File Photo

On Friday, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee reportedly refused to entertain a plea challenging the imposition of NSA in few states as also in the national capital amid anti-CAA protests.

The bench stated, "We are of the opinion that general writ will not lie in this case. We cannot invoke powers under Article 32. We agree that the NSA should not be misused but there cannot be a general command. This will create chaos."

The petitioner-advocate M L Sharma said that the anti-CAA protests that going on peacefully in Shaheen Bagh area of south Delhi and other places across the national capital and other states should not be allowed to invoke the stringent law against the protestors.

The apex court delivering the verdict asked Sharma to show a specific instance, where such stringent law has been done and said that it cannot issue a blanket order. It also added that if a general direction is passed this will create a chaos.

The apex court also said to Sharma, "You don't know what is going on in Calcutta, Tripura and Assam. Properties are being burnt and that may be organised. We don't know the antecedents of people."

Sharma however persisted with seeking relief saying that people protesting peacefully may be booked under the law and the court should protect them.

To this the bench said to Sharma, "If a person is involved in violence and involved in say hundred criminal cases. Then what would government do. Will not the government act?"

The bench has asked Sharma to file an amended petition showing some specific instances where NSA has been invoked against the ant-CAA protestors.

Delhi police commissioner granted detaining power under NSA

The bench told Sharma that he can also file an intervention application in the pending cases challenging the validity of CAA and seek appropriate relief.

Following this, Sharma then sought liberty to withdraw the petition and file an amended petition giving specific details of violations of NSA, which was later granted by SC.

Sharma's plea said NSA has been imposed to curb and pressure people protesting against the CAA, National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC).

Sharma had made the Ministry of Home Affairs and the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Manipur parties to the plea.

According to the plea the notification, allowing police to invoke NSA to detain persons, as "unconstitutional" and violative of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (freedom of speech and expression) and 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.

The plea reportedly also sought that it be declared that the NSA cannot be used against protesters.

Besides, it sought a compensation of Rs 50,00,000 each to those who have been detained so far under the NSA for "mental agony, defamation in society and loss of reputation".

Nationwide, protests are on going against the enactment of CAA, NRC and exercise of National Population Register (NPR).

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