Public places cannot be occupied indefinitely: Supreme Court on Shaheen Bagh

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that public places cannot be occupied indefinitely, while hearing some petitions against anti-citizenship law protests. Last year in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, protestors – mostly women – sat opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) for months.

The court said that “we appreciate the right to protest peacefully and it can be [held] at designated places only.” The apex court on Wednesday observed: “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… they must keep such spaces free from obstruction… the administration cannot wait for orders from court to clear [the protest sites]..” The court also observed that “dissent and democracy go hand in hand”, said a report by NDTV.

A three-judge bench made the observations while hearing petitions to decide whether there can be “indefinite period of protests” in a common area that allegedly created inconvenience for others. Earlier, the court had observed on this matter that there cannot be a “universal policy” as circumstances may vary from case to case.

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