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Shaheen Bagh Protests : Plea In SC Challenges Closure Of Traffic

Nilashish Chaudhary
20 Jan 2020 12:16 PM GMT
Shaheen Bagh Protests : Plea In SC Challenges Closure Of Traffic
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A petition has been filed in Supreme Court asking for directions to the concerned authorities to monitor the traffic situation in parts of South Delhi which has arisen due to anti-CAA protests in Shaheen Bagh.

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. The petitioner has sought permission to be allowed to argue the matter before the apex court, on merits, in person, and in the interim period has prayed for a direction to appoint a Retired Supreme Court judge or a sitting High Court Judge who will monitor/supervise the situation "in order to avoid any further deterioration of the situation and to circumvent any violence."

Having tagged the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Traffic Police, the Delhi Government and the Union Home Ministry as respondents, the petitioner has submitted that he was aggrieved by Delhi High Court disposing off his plea without issuing notice to any of them.

It has further 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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