Anti-CAA review: Right to protest comes with duties, says SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court said the right to protest comes with certain duties and cannot be held “anytime and everywhere”.

The apex court said this while dismissing a review petition on anti-citizenship law protests held in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh in 2019. The review petition was filed by twelve activists.

The three-judge bench of Justices SK Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari said barring some spontaneous protests, there cannot be continued occupation of public place affecting rights of others. The review petition was decided on February 9, but the order came late on Friday night.

The three-judge bench reiterated that public places cannot be occupied for protests and that public protests must be “in designated areas alone”.

The Supreme Court observed that “dissent and democracy go hand in hand,” but prolonged protests like the anti-CAA law are not acceptable in the public interest.

Worthwhile to mention here that Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh had emerged as the epicentre of anti-CAA protests in 2019. Hundreds of women and children sat for more than three months in protest.

The anti-CAA protest had received worldwide attention. The Time Magazine has honoured the 82-year-old Bilkis dadi as one of the 100 “most influential people of 2020”.

The CAA enables citizenship for non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they escaped religious persecution.

 

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