SC: Public places cannot be occupied indefinitely for protests

The Supreme Court today dismissed a review petition on the anti-CAA, NRC protests which were being held in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh in 2019-20 saying that the right to protest and express dissent comes with certain duties and cannot be held “anytime and everywhere”.

SC had in the previous ruling had condemned the Shaheen Bagh protests and ruled them illegal stating that, “we have to make it clear that public places cannot be occupied indefinitely whether in Shaheen Bagh or elsewhere. These sort of protests are not acceptable and authorities should act and make sure to keep such spaces free from obstruction.”

An activist group of about 12 individuals had submitted a review petition on this ruling.

A three-judge bench of Justices SK Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari in dismissal of the plea stated, “the right to protest cannot be anytime and everywhere. There may be some spontaneous protests but in case of prolonged dissent or protest, there cannot be continued occupation of public place affecting the rights of others.”

The SC has consistently maintained that protests are very important of a democratic country but a protest that has been happening for a longer duration can only be displayed in designated areas adding that any protest that hampers the rights of others is to be deemed illegal.

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