NGO moves SC against ban on protests in Central, New Delhi

NEW DELHI: A petition filed in the Supreme Court has challenged a ban on protests in Central and New Delhi, and asks for guidelines to maintain balance between the right to protest and maintaining law and order.

NGO moves SC against ban on protests in Central, New Delhi

The National Green Tribunal had on October 5 this year entirely banned protests at Jantar Mantar near Connaught Place on the ground that it created nuisance for the local residents and violated environment protection statutes. PTI file photo

uttara@tribuneindia.com

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 4 

A petition filed in the Supreme Court has challenged a ban on protests in Central and New Delhi, and asks for guidelines to maintain balance between the right to protest and maintaining law and order.

The petition, filed an NGO called the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan (MKSS), says that Delhi Police’s prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) was an "arbitrary and unreasonable restriction" on the fundamental rights of citizens to hold peaceful protest. The ban will apply to Jantar Mantar, one of the city's most prominent protest sites located in New Delhi.

“Such orders virtually declared the entire Central Delhi as a prohibited area for holding any public meeting, dharna or peaceful protest,” the petitioner, represented by senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, said, asking for guidelines for holding public meetings, dharnas, peaceful demonstrations in parts of New Delhi. 

"As per sub-section 4 of Section 144 CrPC, an order can be issued for a maximum period of two months. Therefore, the Delhi Police has adopted the tactic of issuing the same order repeatedly," the NGO said seeking quashing of several orders passed by police between January and October this year declaring entire Central or New Delhi areas as prohibited areas. 

The National Green Tribunal had on October 5 this year entirely banned protests at Jantar Mantar near Connaught Place on the ground that it created nuisance for the local residents and violated environment protection statutes. 

Bhushan clarified that the issue raised in the petition differed from that addressed by the NGT and said an appeal against the NGT order will be filed later. “The present petition deals with the larger issue of fundamental right to protest,” he said. 

The petitioner said the cost of using Ramlila Maidan for protests was Rs 50,000 a day, making it practically impossible for common citizens to use it.

 

 

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