The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to Centre, Delhi Government and police on pleas seeking removal of protesters from Shaheen Bagh. The apex court said the protesters at Shaheen Bagh cannot block a public road and create inconvenience for others. "The protest has been going on for a long time, how can you block a public road," Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul observed. People are entitled to protest but they have to do so in an area designated for agitation, the Supreme Court said today. The apex court, however, refused to pass any direction on the protests at Shaheen Bagh as it wished to hear their side. The matter has been listed for February 17.
The PIL, filed by Dr Nand Kishore Garg and Amit Sahni through their lawyer Shashank Deo Sudhi earlier last week, sought appropriate directions to the Centre and others for removal of protesters from Shaheen Bagh near Kalindi Kunj.
It said that people in Shaheen Bagh are illegally protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019, by blocking the common and public road connecting Delhi to Noida.
WHAT SUPREME COURT SAYS
- The apex court took suo motu cognisance of death of an infant at home after parents had participated in Shaheen Bagh protests. Can a 4-month-old child be taking part in such protests, the Supreme Court asked today.
- There is a law and people have grievance against it. The matter is pending in court. Despite that some people are protesting. They are entitled to protest.
- You cannot block the public roads. There cannot be indefinite period of protest in such an area. If you want to protest, it has to be in an area identified for protest.
- The apex court further said that the protest at Shaheen Bagh has been going on for long but it cannot create inconvenience for others.
WHAT PETITIONER SAYS
- At the outset, advocate Amit Sahni, one of the petitioners in the case, said that the question in this matter is about the extent of right to protest.
- "Is there anybody present from the government's side. We will issue notice," the bench said.
- When advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi, appearing for another petitioner and former BJP MLA Nand Kishore Garg, urged the bench to pass some direction, the court said, "It can't be done ex-parte".
- Advocate Mehmood Pracha told the court that he wants to intervene in the matter on behalf of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad.
- "Do whatever you feel proper," the bench told Pracha.
- At the fag end of the hearing, when Sudhi insisted that some directions may be passed as people are facing inconvenience due to the blockade of public roads, the bench said, "If you have waited for over 50 days, wait for some more days."