New Delhi, agencies: The Supreme Court today said there is a need to balance the right to protest and blocking of roads and that there cannot a “universal policy” since the situation may “vary” from case-to-case.
The top court’s observation came as it reserved the verdict on a batch of pleas against the anti-CAA protests which had led to blocking of a road in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh last December.
The situation normalised later due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent observance of protocol.
“There were some supervening circumstances which came into play. God almighty had intervened,” said a bench comprising Justices SK Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari.
Taking note of the submissions of lawyers, the bench said: “We have to balance the right to protest and blocking of roads. We have to deal with the issue. There cannot be a universal policy as the situation may vary on case to case basis.
“In a parliamentary democracy, protests can happen in parliament and on roads. But on roads, it has to be peaceful”.
Amit Sahni, one of the lawyers who had filed the plea in the case, said that this kind of protests should not have been allowed in larger public interest.
“This was allowed to continue for more than 100 days and people faced difficulties. This kind of incident should not have happened. Yesterday in Haryana a “Chakka Jam” was organised. They have also called for a “Bharat Bandh” on September 24-25,” he said.
Advocate Mehmood Pracha, appearing for an intervenor, said that there was a right to peaceful protest and some members of a political party went to the spot and “created” the riots.
“We have the right to protest. State machinery is not sacrosanct. Members of a political party went there with the police and created the situation,” he said.