The Delhi High Court Tuesday directed Delhi Police to look into restrictions on the usage of the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh road stretch, closed since December 15 due to protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, as per the “ground reality” and their “wisdom”.
The petition, filed by social activist-advocate Amit Sahni, sought directions to the Delhi Police chief and area DCPs to withdraw the closure of the stretch and the Okhla underpass.
Refusing to pass any specific direction, a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar asked police to “react, in accordance with law, rules and government policies applicable to the facts of the present case”.
“The concerned respondent (police) authorities shall also keep in mind the larger public interest as well as maintenance of law and order,” it said, adding that “it ought to be kept in mind that whenever any agitation or protest is going on, situation is like fluid — keeps on changing looking to the temperament of the protesters and resistance by other people”.
“Simultaneously, police has to maintain law and order. Hence, respondents (police and others) have all power, jurisdiction… to control the traffic, wherever protests or agitations are going on, in the larger public interest.
“In such a situation, no specific writ, order or direction can be issued by this court as to how to handle the agitation or protest or the place of protest and the traffic. It all depends on ground reality and the wisdom of police, where situations may keep changing every 10 minutes,” it added.
The stretch was closed on December 15, 2019, after hundreds of women staged a sit-in at Shaheen Bagh to protest against the Citizenship Act and National Register of Citizens. The diversion has thrown traffic out of gear in South East Delhi and on the stretch leading to Noida.
The PIL, disposed of with the direction, said the closure was causing “inconvenience” to lakhs of commuters every day.