Shaheen Bagh: Right to protest doesn’t mean people can occupy public places says SC
New Delhi, Oct 07: The Supreme Court in the Shaheen Bagh case has said that right to peaceful protest must be respected but it does not mean that people should occupy public places which cause inconvenience to a large number of people.
Agitating people should not adopt means and modes of protest that was used against colonial rulers during the struggle for independence the court also said. Demonstrations which cause inconvenience to a large number of people and violate their rights is not permissible under the law, the court further added.
No person or a group of persons can block public places or carriage ways to demonstrate or express dissent. Protests should be at designated places and authorities must remove such blockades, the court also noted.
The court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Amit Sahni in which a balancing act between the right to protest and right to public movement was sought in the wake of the Shaheen Bagh protests.
The court observed that public places and spaces cannot be occupied in such a manner that inconvenience is caused to a large number of people. The order was passed by a Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kaul.
The court ruled that public places cannot be indefinitely occupied by protesters. The administration has to keep public spaces free from all obstructions and they cannot wait for an order from the court, the Supreme Court also held. While pulling up the Delhi Police for not doing its job under the pretext of having endless talks, the bench said that the police must ensure that the roads are cleared.