A separate SC bench said that it will not pass an order on Shaheen Bagh protests without hearing the other side but remarked that the protesters cannot block public roads and create inconvenience for others

Can a 4-month child stage protests SC on death of child at Shaheen BaghShaheen Bagh (PTI file)
news Court Monday, February 10, 2020 - 15:03

The Supreme Court on Monday sent a notice to the Centre on a plea seeking the removal of protesters at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, which has become the epicentre for sit-in protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The court remarked that the protesters cannot block public roads and create inconvenience for others. 

A separate bench of the Supreme Court also took suo-motu cognisance of the death of the 4-month old child at the protest site at Shaheen Bagh and questioned whether such young children can be taken to a protest site.

"A child has died! Was a four-month-old child there to protest?" Chief Justice of India SA Bobde stated. The bench, also comprising Justices B Gavai and Surya Kant, has issued a notice to Delhi government and the Centre on the matter.

Meanwhile, a SC bench, comprising Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph issued a notice to Centre, Delhi government and the police on pleas seeking removal of protesters from Shaheen Bagh. The court, stating that it will not pass an order without hearing the other side, posted the matter for February 17. 

"There is a law, and people have a grievance against it. The matter is pending in court. Despite that, some people are protesting. They are entitled to protest," the bench said.

"You cannot block the public roads. There cannot be an indefinite period of protest in such an area. If you want to protest, it has to be in an area identified for protest," the bench said. The court added that the protest at Shaheen Bagh has been going on for long but it cannot create inconvenience for others.

At the outset, advocate Amit Sahni, one of the petitioners in the case, said that the question in this matter is about the extent of the right to protest. "Is there anybody present from the government's side. We will issue notice," the bench said. 

When advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi, appearing for another petitioner and former BJP MLA Nand Kishore Garg, urged the bench to pass some direction, the court said, "It can't be done ex-parte". 

Advocate Mehmood Pracha told the court that he wants to intervene in the matter on behalf of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad. "Do whatever you feel proper," the bench told Pracha.

At end of the hearing, when Sudhi insisted that some directions may be passed as people are facing inconvenience due to the blockade of public roads, the bench said, "If you have waited for over 50 days, wait for some more days." 

(With PTI inputs)

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