Supreme Court says Shaheen Bagh protesters can’t block public road, issues notice to Centre, Delhi govt

The Supreme Court has issued a notice to Centre, Delhi government and police on pleas seeking removal of protesters from Shaheen Bagh as it refused to pass orders on Monday.

Hearing petitions seeking the removal of anti-CAA protesters from Shaheen Bagh, the Supreme Court said protesters cannot block public road and create inconvenience for others. “If you want to protest, there can be some area where you protest. You cannot block a public road. Can you block a public area? There must be defined areas of protest,” the Supreme Court noted.

Saying that it will not pass any direction on Shaheen Bagh protest without hearing the other side, the Supreme Court listed the matter for hearing on February 17. “If it’s lasted for 58 days, you can wait one more week,” the Supreme Court observed.

The Supreme Court had earlier said it will hear the pleas seeking removal of anti-CAA protestors from Shaheen Bagh after the Delhi Assembly elections as it did not want to “influence” the polls.

Advocate Amit Sahni, who has filed an appeal in the SC against the January 14 order of the high court directing the police to deal with the situation keeping in mind law and order, had said due to the protests since December 15 last year traffic flow on Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch has been badly affected.

Earlier, Sahni had approached the high court seeking directions to the Delhi Police to ensure smooth traffic flow on the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch which has been blocked since December 15 last year due to protest at Shaheen Bagh.

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 plea sought laying down of comprehensive and exhaustive guidelines relating to outright restrictions for holding protests or agitations leading to obstruction of public place.

It said the law enforcement machinery was being “held hostage to the whims and fancies of the protesters” who have blocked vehicular and pedestrian movement from the road connecting Delhi to Noida.

State has the duty to protect fundamental rights of citizen who were continuously being harassed by the blockage of arterial road, the plea had said.