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The Hindu
The Hindu
Krishnadas Rajagopal

SC to hear pleas against protest at Shaheen Bagh on February 10

Women protesters at the Shaheen Bagh area, during a protest against CAA, in New Delhi on January 11, 2020. (Source: The Hindu)

The Supreme Court on Friday deferred hearing a plea to direct the Delhi Police to stop the Shaheen Bagh protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens and clear the “roadblock” till the Delhi elections are over.

A Bench led by Justice S.K. Kaul indicated the court would not be party to any sort of pre-election narrative to garner votes a day before the polls on February 8.

“We will hear it on Monday,” Justice Kaul told the counsel. “But Delhi election is tomorrow,” the lawyer responded.

“That is exactly why we are saying Monday. You’ve read our minds... You let the cat out of the bag,” Justices Kaul and K.M. Joseph both said in one voice to the counsel.

The petition filed by advocate Amit Sahni has sought directions to the police to take action to ensure smooth traffic movement on the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch, which has been closed for over a month due to anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests, making the public at large suffer.

The plea has sought supervision of the situation in Shaheen Bagh where several women are sitting on an indefinite protest, by a retired Supreme Court judge or a sitting judge of the Delhi High Court to avoid any further deterioration in the situation and to circumvent any violence.

“The respondents (Delhi Police) cannot be permitted to behave like mute spectators, particularly in a situation presently faced by persons living in the vicinity of Kalindi Kunj,” said the plea.

Mr. Sahni has contended that the Delhi High Court did not order the forthwith removal of traffic restrictions and observed that no direction can be issued on the methodology to handle protest and traffic movement successfully and left it to the discretion of the police.

“No one can be permitted to occupy a public road for any reason whatsoever under the pretext of peaceful protest and that too for an indefinite period to make others suffer for the same”, his plea said.

The High Court had asked the police to examine the issue while bearing in mind that law and order is supposed to be maintained.

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