Occupation of public spaces in the name of protests not acceptable, says SC in Shaheen Bagh Verdict

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari delivered the verdict in a special leave petition filed against the Shaheen Bagh protests on wednesday. Before approaching the Apex Court, the petition against the Anti-CAA protests that resulted in the closure of the Shaheen Bagh stretch was filed in the Delhi High Court. The bench has criticized the Delhi High Court for dismissing the petition filed by Amit Sahni  on the first day itself.

The court noted that the erstwhile manner of protests during the freedom struggle cannot be equated with the Shaheen Bagh protests. The right to protest, though allowed despite petitions against the act pending itself, came with reasonable restrictions that disallowed the occupation of public spaces. Social Media protests were also brought up and said to lead to polarized environments with no fruitful outcome.

What started as a protest by women from the takhts in the area resulted in a leaderless protest including influencers with no control to call it off. The court also emphasized on the role of the respondents  i.e the commissioner of police in administering such a situation in an effective manner and not hiding behind court orders.

The protests had only come to a halt because of the pandemic and the bench expressed their hope for the non-occurrence of such an event again.

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