SC picks 2 lawyers for Shaheen talks

SC picks 2 lawyers for Shaheen talks

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 17

The Supreme Court today asked senior advocate Sanjay Hegde and advocate Sadhana Ramachandran to talk to the protesters against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) sitting at Shaheen Bagh and persuade them to move to an alternative site where no thoroughfare is blocked.

A Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul - which is seized of PILs seeking removal of the protesters from the road that connects South Delhi to Noida - posted the matter for further hearing on February 24.

During the hearing, the Bench said people had a fundamental right to protest against a law but the blocking of public roads was a matter of concern and there had to be a balancing factor.

Noting that democracy worked on expressing views and there were lines and boundaries for it, the Bench wondered what would happen if people started protesting on roads.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the protesters should not be given a message that every institution was on its knees trying to persuade them on this issue.

The Bench said if nothing worked, "we will leave it to the authorities to deal with the situation." Restrictions have been imposed on the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch and the Okhla underpass, which were closed on December 15 last year due to the protests against CAA and Register of Citizens.

The Bench is hearing an appeal by advocate Amit Sahni, who had approached the Delhi High Court seeking directions to the Delhi Police to ensure smooth traffic flow on the stretch.

As protests against the CAA continue for almost two months, blocking Kalindi Kunj Road that connects South Delhi to Noida, the SC had on February 10 said people can't block a public road.

"There can be some area where you protest. But you cannot block a public road.... There must be defined areas of protest," a Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul had said. The Bench issued notice to police and the government after petitioner advocate Amit Sahni submitted that right to protest "goes to some extent only."

Protest okay, but blockade a concern

  • The SC observed people had a fundamental right to protest, but blocking roads and places was a matter of concern as it might lead to ‘chaotic situation’
  • It asked senior advocate Sanjay Hegde and advocate Sadhana Ramachandran to persuade protesters to move to an alternative site where no thoroughfare is blocked

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