Shaheen Bagh protests: The top court also added that, “if nothing works, we will leave it to authorities to deal with situation.” (Photo Credit: File Photo)
The Supreme Court appointed senior counsel Sanjay Hegde as interlocutor to talk to Shaheen Bagh protesters on Monday. In a stern observation, the top court said that, “when strong views emerge, you cannot say don't put forth your strong views. Those things don't trouble us. Only thing troubling is blocking of a public road.” The apex court further said that, “people have fundamental right to protest but thing which is troubling us is blocking of public roads. Democracy works on expressing views but there are lines and boundaries for it.” The top court also added that, “if nothing works, we will leave it to authorities to deal with situation.”
On the blockade causing inconvenience to the general public, a bench comprising Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph said that, “there’s a law enacted, and challenge to it is pending in the Court. It’s fine that some people may want to protest. The protests have gone on for many days… There must be an area where you can protest. It cannot be held wherever one wants. It has to be in identified area… Otherwise people will go and protest anywhere.” The apex court was hearing petitions filed by Advocate Amit Sahni and Delhi BJP leader Nand Kishore Garg on the Shaheen Bagh blockade.
Appointing Sanjay Hegde and advocate Sadhana Ramachandran as the interlocutors, the top court said that both of them should talk to the Shaheen Bagh protestors and persuade them to shift protests to an alternate site. The matter will be heard on February 24. During the hearing, appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said: “Protestors removing themselves from road should not be conditional upon them getting an alternate site to protest.” Mehta also said that “message should not go that we have been brought to our knees.” He also added that protestors are keeping women and children at the front as shield.
On February 10, the Supreme Court came down heavily on the anti-CAA protests that have been going on in south Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh area since December 15 last year. “You cannot block public roads indefinitely, protests cannot continue like this,” the top court said. Restrictions have been imposed on the stretch as also the Okhla underpass due to protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The protests at Shaheen Bagh was one of the major issues in the recently-held Delhi Assembly Elections. Top BJP leaders were seen making provocative statements against the stir at Shaheen Bagh. Union Minister Giriraj Singh had sparked a massive controversy with his provocative tweet against the ongoing anti-CAA protests in Delhi’ Shaheen Bagh area. Senior BJP leader tweeted a clip and said that Shaheen Bagh has become the hub of making ‘suicide bombers.’ He termed the protests at Shaheen Bagh as an anti-national conspiracy. Along with the tweet, Singh had posted a video in which a woman could be heard exhorting the protesters for ‘qurbani’.