Can protesters block a road indefinitely: SC in Shaheen Bagh

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday adopted a critical view of the protests that block public spaces and sought answers from the Delhi Center and Police in a statement that sought to remove agitators. The petition said that thousands of people traveling daily were being harassed due to the blockage of the main road connecting Noida-Delhi-Faridabad for almost two months.

Entertaining appeal by petitioner Amit Sahni against the order of the Delhi High Court to dismiss his statement, a bank of Judges Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph said: Protests have been going on for a long time. There cannot be an indefinite period of protest in a common area. It could be done in an area identified for protests. Can anyone block the public road?

When the petitioner requested provisional measures, the bank published the matter for a new hearing on February 17 and said it would consider the statement only after listening to the other party. The SC asked: If this (Shaheen Bagh type protests) happens in other places, what will happen?

The HC had refused to approve any orders at the request of Sahni while asking the authorities to investigate the problem. Had he asked if the protesters had the unlimited right to organize demonstrations for an indefinite period in a public place of their choice?

Sahni had questioned the authorities for not acting when protests by a section of the population violated the fundamental right of thousands of people to access public roads. The authorities had been silent spectators of the difficulties caused to thousands of people, he said. Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Shaheen Bagh were the center of a heated campaign for the Delhi elections that ended on Saturday and whose results will be declared on Tuesday. Muslim activists and groups, as well as some ordinary citizens, have made the protest a war cry against CAA, while BJP has attacked the protests as part of a sedition design and lack of harmony.