New Delhi, February 13: The Supreme Court on Saturday while dismissing a review petition on the anti-citizenship law protests held in Delhi's Shaheen Bagh in 2019 said that the right to protest could not be everywhere and anytime. The petition was heard by a bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari. The bench stated that the right to express dissent comes with an obligation to have certain duties. Shaheen Bagh Protests: 'Public Places Cannot be Occupied Indefinitely', Says Supreme Court While Hearing Petitions on Anti-CAA Protests.
"The Constitutional scheme comes with a right to protest and express dissent but with an obligation to have certain duties. The right to protest cannot be anytime and everywhere," reported the Live Law quoting the bench as saying. The bench further added that there might be some spontaneous protests, but in case of prolonged dissent, there could not be continued occupation of public place affecting the rights of others. Notably, the top court's ruling came at a time when the country is witnessing farmers' protest against the three farm laws passed in September last year. Shaheen Bagh Anti-CAA Protests: People Have Right to Protest but There Must Be Balancing Factor, Says Supreme Court.
The reiterated that the protests should be conducted "in designated areas alone".In October last year, the apex court in its order on the Shaheen Bagh protest, had pronounced that dissent and democracy go hand in hand and public places cannot be occupied indefinitely whether in Shaheen Bagh (in Delhi) or elsewhere. The women protesters of Shaheen Bagh filed the review petition against the top court's judgment in October.
The agitation at Shaheen Bagh began on December 15, 2019, after the police action in Jamia Millia Islamia where the police allegedly used force against the anti-CAA protesters in which many students were injured. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in March, 2020, Shaheen Bagh protests were called off, almost after three months of a peaceful sit-in demonstration against the contentious act.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 13, 2021 10:39 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).