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Right to protest and express dissent comes with certain duties: Supreme Court

The Constitutional scheme comes with a right to protest and express dissent but with an obligation to have certain duties, the order said.

Published: 13th February 2021 12:59 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th February 2021 12:59 PM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court

Supreme Court (File Photo | PTI)

By Online Desk

The Supreme Court has dismissed a review petition challenging the Shaheen Bagh protest judgement passed last year which said protests should be at a designated place.

The order passed on February 9th said that the right to protest cannot be anytime and everywhere.

The plea was filed by one Shaheen Bagh resident Kaniz Fatima and others seeking review of last year's verdict of October 7.

The top court, which considered the matter in the judges' chambers also rejected the prayer for open court hearing in the matter.

Dismissing the petition, the Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari felt that the earlier judgement "does not suffer from any error apparent warranting its reconsideration."

The Constitutional scheme comes with a right to protest and express dissent but with an obligation to have certain duties, the order said.

"There may be some spontaneous protests but in case of prolonged dissent or protest, there cannot be continued occupation of public place affecting rights of others," it read.

Shaheen Bagh order

In October 2020, A bench headed by Justice S K Kaul passed the verdict on batch of petitions against the anti-CAA protests in the national capital's Shaheen Bagh.

It said protests should be at a designated place and any occupation of public places or roads by demonstrators, which cause inconvenience to a large number of people and violate their rights, is not permissible under law.

The apex court also said that the authorities concerned should not hide behind courts and act on their own in such situations.

The bench also said that the balance has to be struck between the right to protest and other public rights like the right to movement.

“Dissent and democracy must go hand in hand but protests should be confined to designated areas,” said Justice SK Kaul.

Restrictions were imposed on the Kaindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch and the Okhla underpass, which were closed on December 15, 2019 due to the protests.

The Shaheen Bagh protests began against the Centre's Citizenship Amendment law (CAA) which aimed to provide Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Later, due to COVID-19 pandemic, the area was cleared.

(With ENS, PTI inputs)



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