"Right To Protest Cannot Be Any Time And Everywhere"; Supreme Court Dismisses Review Petition Against 'Shaheen Bagh' Judgment
The Supreme Court rejected the review petition lodged against the Shaheen Bagh Judgment, in which it was held that protests expressing dissent had to be carried out in designated locations alone. Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari dismissed the review petition and held that the right to protest could not be anywhere and at any time. There may be some spontaneous demonstrations, but there should be no continuing occupation of the public place affecting the rights of others in the case of sustained opposition or protest.
In view of recent developments and subsequent observations made during the farm law challenge hearings on the right to protest, the women protesters of Shaheen Bagh approached the Supreme Court seeking a joint hearing of the pending review petition filed against the Shaheen Bagh judgment with the farm law petition. In the petition, the petitioner claimed that the judgment under review is essentially linked to the right of people to demonstrate against the government's policies.
While dealing with the aforementioned question, the judgment in review, this Court made certain observations and made certain findings with regard to the aforementioned right to protest and, according to the present petitioner/applicant, the observations made thus abolish the fundamental right to protest and upset the very notion of dissent, which is one of the pillars on which our democracy stands.
In that order, the Supreme Court observed that: "We are of the view at this stage that the farmers' protest should be allowed to continue without impediment and without any breach of peace either by the protesters or the police." The petitioners for the review submitted that the Constitutional protection of fundamental rights applicable to all people is the same and cannot be separated.