Updated: April 9, 2021 11:14:30 pm
Reiterating that public roads should not be blocked, the Supreme Court on Friday made Haryana and Uttar Pradesh party to a plea highlighting traffic woes on account of the ongoing farmers protests.
A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta which had earlier issued notice to the Delhi Police Commissioner on the plea by Monicca Agarwaal – a Noida-based woman – told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta without referring to the protests against the farm laws that “we are not concerned with how you resolve this issue, whether politically, administratively or judicially. But, we have said this before that roads should not be blocked. This is a single mother who has to face many issues because of blocked roads”.
The bench added that “public streets should not be blocked” and this has been held so repeatedly before.
Agarwaal said in her plea that she had to often travel to Delhi as she was doing a marketing job but the commute from Noida was taking her two hours instead of the usual 20 minutes due to blockades. She added that she had some medical issues too.
Mehta, who said he is appearing for the Delhi government, submitted that UP and Haryana should also be made parties. The court agreed and fixed the matter for further hearing next on April 19.
Earlier, a bench headed by Justice Kaul, in its judgment on pleas against blockade of road at Shaheen Bagh in the national capital during the anti-CAA protest, had said that occupying public places for protests is not acceptable and such a space cannot be occupied “indefinitely”.
Mehta said besides the Delhi Police, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana be made parties and the counsel for these states would be appearing in the hearing.
Issuing notice on March 26, the bench had told the petitioner that if there is a blockade, it is an administrative failure as judicial view has already been propounded by the court.
In its October 7, 2020, judgment on protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, in Shaheen Bagh area, the SC while expressing its strong disapproval of the manner in which the protests were organised had ruled that protests must be carried out “in designated areas alone” and “public ways and public spaces cannot be occupied… and that too indefinitely”.
In February this year, the court dismissed petitions seeking review of the judgment reiterating that the Constitutional guarantee of the right to protest comes with some riders and there cannot be continued occupation of public place in case of prolonged dissent or protest.
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