Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 13
The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed a petition seeking review of its Shaheen Bagh verdict that said roads and public spaces couldn’t be blocked indefinitely and demonstrations had to be in designated places.
“The right to protest cannot be anytime and everywhere. There may be some spontaneous protests but in case of prolonged dissent or protest, there cannot be continued occupation of public places affecting the rights of others,” a three-judge Bench headed by Justice SK Kaul said.
“We have considered the earlier judicial pronouncements and recorded our opinion that the Constitutional scheme comes with a right to protest and express dissent but with an obligation to have certain duties,” said the Bench, which also included Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Krishna Murari.
Maintaining that “democracy and dissent go hand in hand”, the SC had on October 7 last year ruled that roads and public space couldn’t be blocked indefinitely and demonstrations expressing dissent had to be in designated places.
However, review petitioner Kaniz Fatima and 11 other Shaheen Bagh protesters had requested the top court to reconsider its ruling, saying the judgment “appeared to be giving way to an unrestricted sanction to the police to take action by misusing these observations.”
The protesters, who had blocked the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch in Delhi since December 15, 2019, were removed on March 24 after Covid lockdown was enforced.
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