February 9, 2021 1:31:58 am
Women who protested at Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship Amendment Act have moved the Supreme Court seeking a joint hearing of the review of the court’s October 2020 judgment on their protests alongside cases dealing with protests against the new farm laws.
“The judgment in review is essentially in relation to the right of citizens against the policies of the government(s),” the petition filed by Shaheen Bagh protesters stated, seeking parity with the court’s recognition of the farmers’ right to protest.
A review petition of the October 2020 judgment is still pending, and the plea seeks to club the review with the ongoing pleas challenging protests against the farm laws. The observations made in the Shaheen Bagh judgment by the SC “takes away the fundamental right to protest and upsets the very concept of dissent which is one of the foundations on which our democracy stands,” the plea argued.
The October 2020 judgment by a three-judge bench observed that police have a right to clear demonstrators from public places. “We have, thus, no hesitation in concluding that such kind of occupation in public ways, whether at the site in question or anywhere else for protests, is not acceptable and the administration ought to take action to keep the areas clear of encroachment of obstructions,” the SC had said.
While dealing with challenges against the farm law protests at the Delhi’s borders, the SC took a restrained approach. “We clarify that this court will not interfere with the protest in question. Indeed the right to protest is part of a fundamental right and can as a matter of fact, be exercised subject to public order. There can certainly be no impediment in the exercise of such rights as long as it is non-violent and does not result in damage to the life and properties of other citizens and is in accordance with law. We are of the view that at this stage, the farmers’ protest should be allowed to continue without impediment and without any breach of peace either by protesters or the police,” the court had said in an interim order on December 17 last year.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines