Shaheen bagh
Shaheen bagh
Litigation News

[Coronavirus] Lives of lakhs face "immediate threat", PIL in SC seeks removal of Shaheen Bagh protestors to prevent community transmission

The petitioner adds that "protestors can continue their protest after such threat of corona virus is over."

Aishwarya Iyer

A second petition has been filed before the Supreme Court of India praying for the immediate removal of the crowd protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and related issues from Shaheen Bagh, Delhi to prevent the community spread of the Coronavirus (COVID- 19).

The petition filed by Advocate Ashutosh Dubey relies on the advisory issued by the Health Ministry, by which a direction has been issued to avoid mass gatherings.

The petitioner points out that the risk of severe disease associated with COVID-19 infection for people is currently considered moderate for the general population, and high for older adults and individuals with chronic underlying conditions.

In this backdrop, the petitioner asserts that there is a need for the immediate intervention of the Court in the matter, emphasising that if coronavirus spread reaches the third stage of community spread, the situation would get out of had.

"... life of several lakhs of people in Delhi will be at immediate threat as it (COVID-19) is very contagious if by any chance this disease takes a shape of community spread…"
PIL petitioner

The petitioner adds, inter alia,

“Even the religious places be it Church, Temple, Mosques, Gurudwaras across the world are maintaining social distance, yet these Shaheen Bagh protestors are least concerned about the pandemic disease.”
PIL petitioner

The petition also relies on the direction issued by the Chief Minister of Delhi that there should not be more than 50 people at any gathering. Further, it is pointed out that the Chief Minister had clarified that this notification was applicable to Shaheen Bagh protestors as well.

To strengthen arguments concerning the risk at hand, the petitioner relies on data which shows that there are about 118,000 cases, more than 6,000 deaths globally, and that the virus has found a foothold on every continent.

In this backdrop, the petitioner says that despite the Delhi Police trying their best to convince the protestors to avoid such huge gathering in lieu of threat of coronavirus, the protestors have turned a deaf ear and are hardly concerned for safety of public at large.

The prayers made by the petitioner concern:

  • The Immediate removal of the protestors at Shaheen Bagh or any other place in Delhi;

  • Passing of a direction to the Court-appointed interlocutors in the matter to discuss with the protestors and make them understand the risk which everyone is running owing to the protests and further to request that the protest be disbanded for the time being.

The petitioner, however, also submits,

“[The] protestors can continue their protest after such threat of corona virus is over. It is submitted that considering the manner in which this virus is spreading, the next few weeks are very crucial for all citizens of the country.”
PIL petitioner

A a similar PIL is already pending before the Supreme Court, on similar grounds, seeking a direction for the immediate evacuation of protesters in Shaheen Bagh and other protest sites in the country, on account of the Coronavirus outbreak.

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