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"There should be an area identified for protest", Supreme Court issues notice in plea for clearance of Shaheen Bagh protest

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court today issued notice in the petitions seeking removal of protesters from Delhi's Shaheen Bagh and clearance of Kalindi Kunj road, where anti-CAA protests have been going on for over 55 days.

The Court has issued notice in the matter and will hear the case on Monday, February 17.

In the previous hearing, the Division Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph had deferred the hearing on account of the Delhi assembly elections.

Today, the Bench suggested that there needs to be an identified area for carrying out protests of this nature. It also questioned whether a public road can be blocked in this manner. Justice Kaul observed,

"There is law that has been passed and it is under challenge in Court. People may want to protest, they have a right to protest... But these protests have gone on for many days...In the process there must be an area where you hold such protests... Cannot block the highway like this."
Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul

Justice Joseph also raised the question of whether a public road can be blocked for so many days.

Justice Kaul added further that the question is if public areas can be blocked for indefinite protests. He suggested that there need to be areas identified for such exercise.

"There cannot be an indefinite period for protest in an area like this, there should be an area identified for protest. Otherwise people will protest anywhere", Justice Kaul remarked.

Two petitions have been filed for the clearance of Kalindi Kunj Road, which is in proximity to the site of the protests. The first petition has been filed by lawyer and activist, Amit Sahni.

Sahni has prayed for certain specific directions for the removal of the blockage at the protest site. Sahni also seeks for the situation to be monitored or supervised by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or a retired judge of the Delhi High Court in order "to circumvent any violence".

The second petition has been filed by BJP leader Nand Kishore Garg. He has sought the removal of protesters from the site on Kalindi Kunj Road.

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