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'We Understand Your Concern, But Wait', SC Adjourns Plea Against Shaheen Bagh Protests Till Feb 10

Nilashish Chaudhary
7 Feb 2020 5:49 AM GMT
We Understand Your Concern, But Wait, SC Adjourns Plea Against Shaheen Bagh Protests Till Feb 10
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On the eve of Delhi elections, the Supreme Court declined to pass orders on a plea seeking the clearance of Shaheen Bagh protests from Delhi.A bench comprising Justice S K Kaul and K M Joseph adjourned the hearing of the plea till February 10, Monday."We understand there's a problem. But we'll have to consider how to go about it", Justice Kaul said.Then, pointing out that polls are slated to...

On the eve of Delhi elections, the Supreme Court declined to pass orders on a plea seeking the clearance of Shaheen Bagh protests from Delhi.

A bench comprising Justice S K Kaul and K M Joseph adjourned the hearing of the plea till February 10, Monday.

"We understand there's a problem. But we'll have to consider how to go about it", Justice Kaul said.

Then, pointing out that polls are slated to take place tomorrow, the petitioner's lawyer pressed for urgent orders, highlighting the traffic related issues.

At this juncture, Justice Kaul remarked that the impending election was the precise reason for the adjournment.

"That's precisely why we are posting it on Monday", the judge said.

"We understand your concern, but wait till then", Justice Kaul added.

The petitioner, a lawyer named Amit Sahni, had taken his grievance to the Delhi High Court where the same was disposed of by asking the authorities to look into it, but without any formal order regarding the same. The HC had disposed of the petition directing the police to "consider" the petitioner's grievances.

The current petition, for Special Leave, has challenged that order. 

It has been stated that an "alarming situation" has arisen due to a "blockade" of the road between the Kalindi Kunj and Mathura Road region, which connects Delhi-Noida-Faridabad. This has led to traffic being diverted to the Delhi-Noida-Delhi (DND) flyway, which sees lacs of commuters, and needs to be decongested, he submits. Commuters and "residents living in the vicinity are suffering as the road was closed for about a month", says Sahni.

Raising questions about the justification for the High Court not issuing specific directions on his plea, Sahni goes on to ask if protesters have the unrestricted right under Article 19 to "protest on a busy road in violation of other persons' right to have a thoroughfare". He argues that protesters have the right to peacefully protest but it must be subject to reasonable restrictions and cannot be permitted to continue, as it has been for "over a month", since it creates "disturbance to public at large thereby resulting in wastage of fuel, time and energy of lacs of commuters travelling daily".

Calling the situation "extremely sensitive", the petitioner urges that the Respondents (administration) cannot be "mute spectators" in such circumstances. Claiming also that protesters have been using loudspeakers, according to reports, in addition to disturbing public tranquility and obstructing traffic, it has been asserted that protests cannot be permitted to go on "for an indefinite period to make other suffer for the same." Sahni finally argues that it is the duty of the Court to strike a balance between competing claims of different interests.

 

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