Shaheen Bagh infant death| SC issues notice to Centre & Delhi Govt over participation of infants & children in protests

Supreme Court: A bench headed by CJI SA Bobde has issued a notice to Centre and Delhi government asking it to respond to the death of an infant who was taken to Shaheen Bagh, the venue of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in the national capital.

The Court took suo moto cognizance on a letter by a National Bravery Award winner Zen Gunratan Sadavarte to stop involvement of children and infants’ in demonstrations and agitations. 12-year-old Zen Sadavarte from Mumbai had written the letter in wake of the death of a four-month infant at Shaheen Bagh. She has approached the CJI saying that the death of the infant Muhammed Jahan occurred due to atrocious suffering while its parents were participating in an agitation at Shaheen Bagh against Citizenship Amendment Act and sought direction for an investigation into the death.

During the hearing, CJI said

“We have the highest respect for motherhood, highest concern for children and they should not be treated badly,”

The CJI went on to ask, “Can a 4-month-old child be taking part in such protests?”

The Court also allowed Zen Sadavarte to assist the Court in the matter after her mother told the Court that she wants to make submissions before the Court.

The Shaheen Bagh protest is an ongoing 24/7 sit-in protest, led by women, that began with the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) which seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi communities who came to the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014.

Four-month-old Muhammad Jahan, who accompanied his mother almost every day to Shaheen Bagh passed away in his sleep  on the night of January 30 after returning from the protests, allegedly after acquiring a severe cold and congestion following exposure to the winter chill at the protest site.

Several petitions have been filed challenging the constitutional validity of the CAA. Earlier, on December 18, 2019, the 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and BR Gavai and Surya Kant, JJ  had refused to stay the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.

[IN RE TO STOP INVOLVEMENT OF CHILDREN AND INFANTS IN DEMONSTRATIONS AND AGITATIONS IN VIEW OF DEATH OF AN INFANT ON 30.01.2020 AT SHAHEEN BAGH NEW DELHI, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 166, order dated 10.02.2020]

(With inputs from ANI)

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