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Shaheen Bagh Stir: Protests a Right But Roads Can't be Blocked, Says SC, Names Mediators for Discussion

Republic Day celebrations at New Delhi's Shaheen Bagh. (Image : Twitter/@UmarKhalidJNU)

Republic Day celebrations at New Delhi's Shaheen Bagh. (Image : Twitter/@UmarKhalidJNU)

The Supreme Court asked senior lawyer Sanjay Hegde and advocate Sadhna Ramachandran to meet protesters and speak to them. The bench suggested Delhi Police may also offer them an alternative site to protest.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said that that democracy works on expression of views but there are lines and boundaries. The apex court, while hearing a plea against Shaheen Bagh road blockade, added that SC isn't saying that the residents can't protest but the "question is where can they demonstrate".

The Supreme Court asked senior lawyer Sanjay Hegde and advocate Sadhna Ramachandran to meet protesters and speak to them. The bench suggested Delhi Police may also offer them an alternative site to protest.

A week ago, the apex court had said that people cannot block public road indefinitely and create inconvenience for others but declined to pass an interim direction on pleas for removal of anti-CAA protesters from Shaheen Bagh, the epicentre of demonstrations here for nearly two months.

As it observed that people are entitled to protest but it has to be done in an area identified for agitations and cannot be done on a public road or park, the court also took up the issue of an infant dying on returning home from Shaheen Bagh where his parents had taken him along

"Can a 4-month-old child be taking part in such (Shaheen Bagh) protests?", the court had asked while warning two women lawyers for making "explosive submissions" that children participating in the protests against the Citizenship Amended Act (CAA) are being called names, 'terrorist', 'gaddar' (traitor), 'Pakistani', in school.

The apex court was then hearing an appeal filed by advocate Amit Sahni, who had approached the high court seeking directions to the Delhi Police to ensure smooth traffic flow on the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch, which remains blocked by anti-CAA protesters since December 15.

first published:February 17, 2020, 14:20 IST