Protesters can’t block roads or public spaces, rules Supreme Court

Anti-CAA ‘Shaheen Bagh’ agitation by Religious fanatics

Why do the administration and Police do not envisage what a Court can do easily ? Why did they not take timely action against those who were staging illegal agitation ? The Court should also take action against those who neglected their duties and caused unnecessary hardship to the people.

New Delhi – The Supreme Court on 7th October ruled that authorities, in future, should not permit Shaheen Bagh-type protests involving blocking of roads and public spaces, and said that such expressions of dissent should be organised at designated places without causing inconvenience to the public.

Striking a balance between the democratic right to protest and the need to spare people the inconvenience resulting from blockades, a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari said staging protests is a constitutional right and emphasised that an issue being sub-judice could not be a deterrent for agitation on the same. It said pendency of petitions challenging the CAA before the apex court would not take away the right of citizens to protest against its enactment.

However, it also stressed that blockade of public spaces and roads, popular means of protests against colonial rulers, cannot be resorted to in a self-ruled democracy as the Constitution, while conferring certain rights, has also obligated everyone to perform fundamental duties.

“The present case was not even one of the protests taking place in an undesignated area but was the blockade of a public way which caused grave inconvenience to commuters. We cannot accept the plea of the applicants that an indeterminable number of people can assemble whenever they choose to protest”, it said.

Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Kaul said, “We hope such a situation does not arise in future and protests are subject to legal position as enunciated above, with some sympathy and dialogue, but are not permitted to get out of hand”.