“Right to protest has to be balanced with people’s right to use a public road,” the Supreme Court reiterated Monday as it reserved its order on petitions against anti-CAA protests in the locality which disrupted traffic in and around the capital for months.
“Right to protest has to be balanced with the right of people to use a public road. For a long period of time, a public road was blocked. What about this right to use the road?,” Justice Aniruddha Bose, sitting with Justices S K Kaul and Krishna Murari, observed as the petitions came up for hearing.
Advocate Mehmood Pracha said a universal standard and policy has to be applied for this. But Justice Kaul pointed out that “there cannot be a universal policy” on such issues as the situation may vary from case to case. “In a parliamentary democracy, there is an avenue of debate. The only issue is in what manner, where, for how long and how to balance it,” the bench said.
The court also observed that the situation returned to normal with the Covid outbreak. “There were some supervening circumstances which came into play and it was no one’s hand,” it said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the right to protest comes with restrictions.
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