Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of SK Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari, JJ has, in the Shaheen Bagh protests matter, held that while there exists the right to peaceful protest against a legislation, public ways and public spaces cannot be occupied in such a manner and that too indefinitely.

“Democracy and dissent go hand in hand, but then the demonstrations expressing dissent have to be in designated places alone. The present case was not even one of protests taking place in an undesignated area, but was a blockage of a public way which caused grave inconvenience to commuters. We cannot accept the plea of the applicants that an indeterminable number of people can assemble whenever they choose to protest.”

EVENTS LEADING TO THIS ORDER


  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) was passed last year 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.
  • The passage of CAA led to nationwide protests calling the CAA and the National Register of Citizens discriminatory. A women led protest 24/7 sit-in protest was also initiated in Shaheen Bagh, Delhi.
  • The Shaheen Bagh protest resulted in the closure of the Kalindi Kunj Shaheen Bagh stretch, including the Okhla underpass from 15.12.2019. It was submitted that the public roads could not be permitted to be encroached upon in this manner and, thus, a direction be issued to clear the same.
  • When the law enforcement authorities were control the protests and traffic, the Supreme Court opted for an ‘out of box’ solution and appointed Senior Advocate Sanjay R. Hegde and mediator trainer Sadhana Ramachandran as interlocutors.
  • The interlocutors made appreciable effort and submitted a report on 24.02.2020 which highlighted that the nature of demands was very wide and that it did look difficult to find a middle path towards at least facilitating the opening of the blocked public way. The interlocutors did their best, but their efforts could not fructify into success, although the number of people at protest site had eventually diminished.
  • The second report suggested that
    • The views reflected in private conversations with the protestors were somewhat different from the public statements made to the media and to the protesting crowd in attendance.
    • While the women protestors had sat in protest inside the tent, there was a huge periphery comprising mainly of male protestors, volunteers and bystanders who all seemed to have a stake in the continuance of the blockade of the road.
    • It appeared that an absence of leadership guiding the protest and the presence of various groups of protesters had resulted in many influencers who were acting possibly at cross-purposes with each other.
    • Thus, the Shaheen Bagh protest perhaps no longer remained the sole and empowering voice of women, who also appeared to no longer have the ability to call off the protest themselves. There was also the possibility of the protestors not fully realising the ramifications of the pandemic, coupled with a general unwillingness to relocate to another site.
  • With the advent of COVID-19 Pandemic, greater wisdom prevailed over the protestors at the Shaheen Bagh site and the site was cleared. On this, the Court noticed

“Thus, really speaking, the reliefs in the present proceedings have worked themselves out.”

WHAT THE COURT SAID ON THE RIGHTS OF THE PROTESTERS


“India, as we know it today, traces its foundation back to when the seeds of protest during our freedom struggle were sown deep, to eventually flower into a democracy. What must be kept in mind, however, is that the erstwhile mode and manner of dissent against colonial rule cannot be equated with dissent in a self-ruled democracy.”

The Court noticed that the Constitutional scheme comes with the right to protest and express dissent, but with an obligation towards certain duties. Article 19, one of the cornerstones of the Constitution of India, confers upon its citizens two treasured rights, i.e.,

  1. the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a)
  2. the right to assemble peacefully without arms under Article 19(1)(b).

These rights, in cohesion, enable every citizen to assemble peacefully and protest against the actions or inactions of the State. The same must be respected and encouraged by the State, for the strength of a democracy such as ours lies in the same. These rights are subject to reasonable restrictions, which, inter alia, pertain to the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India and public order, and to the regulation by the concerned police authorities in this regard.

“Each fundamental right, be it of an individual or of a class, does not exist in isolation and has to be balanced with every other contrasting right. It was in this respect, that in this case, an attempt was made by us to reach a solution where the rights of protestors were to be balanced with that of commuters.”

Noticing that in this age of technology and the internet, social movements around the world have swiftly integrated digital connectivity into their toolkit; be it for organising, publicity or effective communication, the Court said that technology, however, in a near paradoxical manner, works to both empower digitally fuelled movements and at the same time, contributes to their apparent weaknesses.

“The ability to scale up quickly, for example, using digital infrastructure has empowered movements to embrace their often-leaderless aspirations and evade usual restrictions of censorship; however, the flip side to this is that social media channels are often fraught with danger and can lead to the creation of highly polarised environments, which often see parallel conversations running with no constructive outcome evident.”

The Court said that both these scenarios were witnessed in Shaheen Bagh, which started out as a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, gained momentum across cities to become a movement of solidarity for the women and their cause, but came with its fair share of chinks – as has been opined by the interlocutors and caused inconvenience of commuters.

WHAT THE COURT SAID ON THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES


“The courts adjudicate the legality of the actions and are not meant to give shoulder to the administration to fire their guns from.”

In what manner the administration should act is their responsibility and they should not hide behind the court orders or seek support therefrom for carrying out their administrative functions.

The Court noticed that in the present case, unfortunately, despite a lapse of a considerable period of time, there was neither any negotiations nor any action by the administration, thus warranting our intervention.  It concluded with the following words:

“We only hope that such a situation does not arise in the future and protests are subject to the legal position as enunciated above, with some sympathy and dialogue, but are not permitted to get out of hand.”

[Amit Sahni v. Commissioner of Police, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 808, decided on 07.10.2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: While addressing the issue that whether the Delhi Police can be faulted for disclosing the certain information and allegations pertaining to the petitioner regarding her alleged involvement in hatching a conspiracy to cause riots near Jafrabad Metro Station, in their press release; the Bench of Vibhu Bakhru, J., directed the Delhi Police to refrain from issuing any further communication naming any accused or any witness till the charges are framed and the trial is commenced.

The petitioner is currently enrolled as a student in M. Phil-Ph.D Program with the Department of Women’s Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. As per the petitioner, she has been a strong critic of Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 and has participated in peaceful protests for seeking repeal of the CAA and a stop to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) process. The petitioner via her counsel Adit S. Pujari, contends that the Delhi Police circulated a “Brief Note” dated 02-06-2020 to various media agencies which disclosed names of two girls including the petitioner and alleged that they belong to ‘Pinjra Tod’ Group and were actively involved in hatching a conspiracy to cause riots near Jafrabad Metro Station. The petitioner submitted that the impugned Note was an attempt to prejudice her Right to Free and Fair Trial and also to weaken the presumption of her innocence. Per contra, Additional Solicitor General, Aman Lekhi contended that the Delhi Police had not issued the impugned Note with the intention of causing any prejudice to the petitioner or with a view to attack her reputation but for the sole purpose to accurately portray the case, which was necessary in view of the media campaign carried out by members of the ‘Pinjra Tod’ Group to sway the public opinion against the actions of the Delhi Police.

Perusing the rival contentions, the Court observed that the respondent’s contention that the circulation of the impugned Note was a necessity in the light of the negative campaigning conducted against the Delhi Police, is not a persuasive argument. However, the Court also observed that the impugned Note does not violate the petitioner’s Fundamental Rights under Art. 21 of the Constitution. The Court further noted that the reasons prompting the respondent to issue the impugned note are not subject to judicial review provided they are bonafide and do not violate the petitioner’s right. However considering that communal riots are sensitive cases, where even the FIRs are also not publicly disclosed, therefore the Court restrained the Delhi Police to release any further communication in this matter.[Devangana Kalita v. Delhi Police, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 867 , decided on 27-07-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

UN experts called on India to immediately release human rights defenders who have been arrested for protesting against changes to the nation’s citizenship laws.

“These defenders, many of them students, appear to have been arrested simply because they exercised their right to denounce and protest against the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act), and their arrest seems clearly designed to send a chilling message to India’s vibrant civil society that criticism of government policies will not be tolerated,” the experts said.

One of the most alarming cases concerns pregnant Delhi student Safoora Zargar, who was detained for over two months having allegedly been kept in conditions equating to solitary confinement, denied regular contact with her family and legal representative, and having not been provided adequate medical care or diet. She was finally granted bail on 23 June 2020, in her sixth month of pregnancy, on humanitarian grounds.

The CAA provides expedited and simplified access to citizenship for people from specific religious minorities from several neighbouring countries but it excludes Muslims. Its adoption in December 2019 provoked nationwide protests by Indians from diverse faiths – including Hindus – who believe it violates the secular foundations of India’s constitution.

Many of the 11 individual cases include serious allegations of human rights violations, several relating to due process failings during arrest and detention, as well as allegations of torture and ill-treatment.

“Authorities should immediately release all human rights defenders who are currently being held in pre-trial detention without sufficient evidence, often simply on the basis of speeches they made criticising the discriminatory nature of the CAA,” they said.

The experts also highlighted their concern that the authorities’ response to the protests seemed discriminatory. It appears they have not similarly investigated allegations of incitement to hatred and violence made by CAA supporters, some of whom are reported to have chanted “shoot the traitors” at counter-rallies.

The experts further flagged their concern that authorities were invoking counter-terrorism or national security legislation, and using procedural police powers, to deny bail to protesters and issue charges carrying heavy sentences.

“Although demonstrations ended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and India’s Supreme Court issued a recent order to decongest jails because of health concerns related to the pandemic, protest leaders continue to be detained. The reported spread of the virus in Indian prisons makes their immediate release all the more urgent,” the experts said.

They are in contact with the Government on this matter.

Link to the source: News


United Nations

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In JNU student Sharjeel Imam’s plea to club all FIRs filed against him for his speech during the anti-CAA protests in Delhi, the bench of Ashok Bhushan and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has asked the State of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to file counter affidavit within 2 weeks and has listed the matter after 3 weeks. Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi have already filed counter affidavits.

The Court, however, refused to pass any interim order before seeing the replies of all the five States.

Sharjeel Imam, an activist and JNU student, has been booked under several cases for allegedly delivering inflammatory speeches against Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

[Sharjeel Imam v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 526 , order dated 19.06.2020]

Case BriefsDistrict Court

Patiala House Court, New Delhi:  While deciding the instant bail application of student activist Safoora Zargar, who was accused of giving inflammatory speeches, thereby inciting riots and violence in North East Delhi and was arrested and taken into custody under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 [hereinafter UAPA], Dharmendar Rana, ASJ, refused to grant her the bail. Furthermore, pointing out that although no direct violence is attributable to the applicant/ accused, still she cannot shy away from her liabilities.

The Court said that, “When you choose to play with embers, you cannot blame the wind to have carried the spark bit too far and spread the fire”. However, taking note of the accused/ applicant’s pregnancy, he requested the Jail Superintendent to provide adequate medical aid and assistance to her.

The applicant/accused is a student of Jamia Milia University. It was alleged by the prosecution that she delivered an inflammatory speech at Chand Bagh area of North East Delhi. Aftermath of which, riots erupted leading to a great loss of life and property. As per the submissions of the Additional Public Prosecutor, Irfan Ahmed, there is enough evidence available on record to connect the applicant/ accused to the riots. It was further submitted that Section 43D (5) of the UAPA places a statutory restriction on the power of the Courts to release the applicant/ accused on bail. The prosecution further pointed out that certain incriminating materials were seized by the police and if this recovery is viewed against the backdrop of the inflammatory speeches given by the applicant/ accused and statements of the witnesses, then it is clear that the riots were a result of a conspiracy to overawe the government and disrupt the normal functioning of the capital city. Thus under these circumstances, the applicant- accused should not be granted bail.

Meanwhile, counsel for the applicant/accused, Sanya Kumar, contended that the applicant/accused is an innocent woman who has a contrary opinion on the Citizenship Amendment Act (hereinafter CAA) and had simply exercised her fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution by being involved in a peaceful protest against the CAA. She further pointed out to the court that the applicant/accused delivered her speech on 23-02-2020 and riots started in the afternoon of 24-02-2020. The evidences clearly suggest that the applicant was not present on 24-02-2020, therefore the alleged violence cannot be attributed to her and the provisions of the UAPA have been wrongly invoked against her. The counsel also contended that the applicant/ accused should be granted bail on humanitarian grounds as she is 21 weeks pregnant and suffers from various other medical complications and given the spread of Covid-19, the applicant/ accused is particularly vulnerable.

Perusing the contentions of both the parties, the Additional Sessions Judge observed that freedom of speech and expression is indeed a foundation for strong and vibrant democracy, however the same is not an absolute right and is subject to the reasonable restrictions laid down in Article 19(2) of the Constitution. Considering the provisions of the UAPA, the Court observed that any activity which creates a disorder and disturbance of law to such an extent that an entire city is “brought down to its knees”, constitutes an ‘unlawful activity’ under Section 2(o) of the UAPA. Concurring with the contentions of the prosecution, the Court noted that it cannot ignore the material available on record which clearly suggests that there was a conspiracy to create an unprecedented scale of destruction and breakdown of law and order. Finding no merits, the Court thus dismissed the bail application. [State v. Safoora Zargar, Bail Application No. 1119/2020 , decided on 04-06-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: After the Uttar Pradesh government has knocked the door of Supreme Court, challenging the Allahabad High Court’s order regarding the removal of hoardings put up by the state government, with names, addresses and photographs of those who were accused of violence during anti-CAA protests, the Court has referred the matter to a 3-judge bench.

Senior lawyer Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for ex-IPS officer SR Darapuri, told the Court that Darapuri is ’72 batch IPS officer who retired as IG. While citing examples of cases of child rapists and murderers, he said,

“Since when and how do we have in this country a policy to name and shame them? If such a policy exists, a man walking on the streets or roads may be lynched.”

Senior lawyer Colin Gonsalves, appearing for accused Mohammad Shoaib, submitted that this is the grossest form of violation which his client was facing now.

“Somebody can come to my home and kill me.”

Taking the suo moto cognisance of the public interest litigation on the issue, the High Court in an unprecedented sitting on Sunday termed the act of putting up photos of protesters as “unjust”. The hoardings included pictures of Shia cleric Maulana Saif Abbas, former IPS officer SR Darapuri and Congress leader Sadaf Jafar, all of whom were named as accused in the violence that swept the state capital on December 19 last year.

(Source: ANI)

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: A bench headed by CJ SA Bobde has directed Delhi High Court to hear on Friday the PIL filed by Delhi violence survivors seeking registration of FIR against political leaders over their hate speeches, which allegedly led to the riots in the national capital. The Court also directed the High Court to hear on Friday other connected matter on the issue, which was adjourned till April, as an adjournment of the matters for a month was not justifiable and asked it to finish hearing in an expeditious manner.

Taking up the High Court, CJI Bobde said,

“Their prayer to hear the matter on time is justified. In riots, violence cannot be curbed by courts. But just because there is no violence it does not mean that courts can give such long adjournments.”

The Court also sought the names of political leaders who could talk to people to bring peace in the region. The top court also slated to hear on Friday the matter related to the speech given by petitioner Harsh Mander, in which he allegedly said that he doesn’t have faith in the judiciary, and sought a transcript of the video of the incident.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned the alleged video of Mander saying he is seen to have called on the people of India to streets for “real justice” and expressed no faith in the courts. Stating that he will only hear directly affected party as of now, CJI said,

“If this is what he (Mander) feels about the court then we have to decide how to deal…,”

Advocate Karuna Nandy, appearing for Mander, said that his client did not make such a statement.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, who is representing the riot survivors, said that local BJP leader Kapil Mishra had in January made similar statements but no police action was taken against him. Gonsalves said that while the protests caused the disruption, no violence took place, and claimed that Mishra’s statement led to the violence as “Goli Maaro” slogans were raised by leaders.

The court asked Tushar Mehta if the situation was now conducive for filing FIRs, to which he responded saying that registration of FIRs was an exclusive prerogative of the police and added that law enforcement authorities have to take a call on the matter. Mehta said that so far, 468 FIRs have been registered in connection with the violence.

“There are speeches from both sides and if we start registering FIRs against the leaders of the communities, things may aggravate. We leave it to the authorities. The government has not said it will not file FIRs, but that it will be done when time is conducive,”

CJI Bobde said that the bench has some experience of riots adding that sometimes when leaders are arrested, the riots flare-up.

“You know what happened in the Bombay riots… When the Shaka Pramukhs were arrested and locked up, the riots flared up. Bombay riots were worse than this,”

This comes after at least 47 people including IB officer Ankit Sharma and Police Head Constable Rattan Lal died while around 200 people sustained serious injuries in the violence that raged for three days in north-east Delhi last week.

(Source: ANI)

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: A bench headed by CJ SA Bobde has agreed to hear on March 4 a plea seeking immediate registration of FIR against BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and others for their alleged “hate speech”, that allegedly led to the violence in North-East Delhi. The petition was filed by a group of Delhi violence survivors.

The bench posted the matter for hearing on Wednesday after senior advocate Colin Gonsalves appearing for the survivors told the apex court that Delhi High Court had last week adjourned the issue for six weeks whereas people are dying every day. Gonsalves said that it is an urgent issue and added that the top court should hear the matter today or tomorrow.

The Chief Justice said that he “wished for peace” but added that the court cannot give preventive relief.

“We are not saying people should die. That kind of pressure we are not equipped to handle. We cannot stop things from happening. We cannot give preventive reliefs. We feel a kind of pressure on us… We can only deal with the situation after it occurs, the kind of pressure on us, we can’t handle that… it’s like the court is responsible,”

He further added,

“We read newspapers, we know the kind of comments that are made. Courts come on to the scene after the thing is done and courts have not been able to prevent such a thing. We wish peace…,”

The plea filed by a group of 10 Delhi violence survivors sought an immediate FIR against Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma and Abhay Verma who allegedly “indulged in hate speech, rioting, murder and arson”. It sought the constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) with officers from outside Delhi to probe violence and call in the army to maintain law and order in the national capital.
The plea further sought an inquiry committee headed by a retired judge to probe police persons involved in the violence and exemplary compensation to all victims. The petitioners also sought postmortem reports to be released immediately to the families of victims. It also sought a direction to the government and police to make public the full
list of persons detained by police and paramilitary and to preserve all CCTV footage of violence-affected areas.

At least 46 people lost their lives and more than 200 others sustained serious injuries in the violence that rocked North-East Delhi last week.

(Source: ANI)

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of S. Muralidhar and Anup Jairam Bhambhani, JJ., in pursuance to the mid-night hearing, was informed by Advocate Suroor Mandel that the injured riot victims were able to be taken to Government Hospitals and the Order given by the Bench earlier had a positive effect.

Further, Court heard the issues that required immediate attention by Rahul Mehra, Standing Counsel for Delhi Police and Sanjay Ghose, Standing Counsel for GNCTD.

Following issues required attention of the Court:

  • Safe passage for bodies of victims who have died in riots with proper information being provided to friends and bodies to be taken with utmost dignity – Court has asked the police to work out the modalities in consultation with relatives.
  • Setting up of help lines and help desks – Special Commissioner of Police, Mr Praveer Ranjan assures the Court that it will immediately look into this aspect and ensure that adequate number of help lines and help desks are set up.
  • Fire services and Ambulances reaching the spot in time. – The same shall be taken care by the police in coordination with the Director of Fire Services and Secretary (Health), GNCTD.
  • Victims have left their homes due to riots and many had to leave their dwellings and are afraid to return till the situation is under control — They should be given some kind of assurance that they would be safe in their homes. GNCTD will on war footing ensure that adequate numbers of shelter are set up to provide rehabilitation to displaced victims.

Another concern expressed is that of post-mortem reports and medico-legal certificates copies to be provided to the victims, for which Mr Mehra states that all efforts will be made to ensure that it is done strictly in accordance with law and relevant document is provided to kin of the dead or injured.

Court proposes to appoint Advocate Zubeda Begum as Amicus Curiae to act as Nodal Officer of Court to co-ordinate between victims and various agencies.

To address the urgent needs of the time designated ‘Night Magistrates’ should be available.

In addition to the above, Court also directed Secretaries of District Legal Services Authorities (DLSAs) to ensure that their help lines work 24*7 for the next 2 weeks.

To deal with post-traumatic stress disorder and any other needs, Director, Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences will also be provided sufficient number of qualified professionals in order to cater to the needs of riot victims.

The matter has been listed for 28-02-2020 [Rahul Roy v. Govt. (NCT of Delhi), WP (Crl.) No. 566 of 2020, decided on 26-02-2020]


As reported by ANI, 

Delhi High Court during the hearing regarding the violence caused in North-East Delhi, stated that the Chief Minister and Deputy CM should also visit the affected areas for confidence-building among people. This is the time to reach out.

Standing Counsel stated that due to the violence there is an official confirmation on 17 deaths due to violence in North East Delhi.

Justice S Muralidhar ordered the court master to play video clip in which BJP leader Kapil Sharma allegedly made an inflammatory speech.

Further, the bench stated that all injured police personnel should be treated with utmost urgency.

Court also asks the highest functionaries in state and central government to personally meet the victims and their families.

Direction to set up helplines for immediate help for victims, private ambulances to be provided for safe passage of victims has been given along with the set up of shelters for rehabilitation along with basic facilities.

Bench with regard to the CBSE Board Examination Centre has asked the board to take a decision on the same by 5 P.M. Today.

Advocate Zubeda Begum has been appointed to act as amicus curiae between the victims and agencies. [PTI]

Court also inquires about the name of the officer who was seen in BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s video clip.

On the plea of deployment of Army in the violence-affected areas, court says ‘We don’t want to enter into the question of deployment of Army. We should focus on the issue of registration of FIR right now.’

Police asked to take a conscious decision on lodging of FIRs and convey it to the court. [PTI]

The court adjourns the matter for tomorrow and states that the authorities must go strictly by the mandate of the law.

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: A bench of SK Kaul and KM Joseph has adjourned March 23 hearing on pleas seeking removal of the crowd protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at Shaheen Bagh area in the national capital. The bench said that it had to look into the road closure issue.

“We are informed that there are certain unfortunate issues that happened,”

The Court also refused to interfere with the application, filed by Chandrashekhar Azad and social activist Bahadur Abbas Naqvi, seeking courtmonitored SIT probe into the alleged Delhi riots observing that the Delhi High Court is looking into the matter. Justice Kurian Joseph, however, expressed his displeasure over the way the police have acted. He said.

“you (police) have to act immediately to handle the situation.”

On Monday, the two Amicus Curiae, senior advocates Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran, had submitted their report in a sealed cover to the Court after engaging with the anti-CAA protestors last week for shifting the venue from Shaheen Bagh. The Court had last week appointed senior advocates — Sanjay Hedge, Sadhana Ramachandran and former bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah — as interlocutors to talk to the protestors here and urge them to clear the road and protest at an alternate site.

Earlier, the Court had observed that the protesters can continue their protests but in an area designated for protests.

The PIL, filed by Dr Nand Kishore Garg and Amit Sahni through their lawyer Shashank Deo Sudhi earlier this week, also sought appropriate directions to the Centre and others for removal of protesters from Shaheen Bagh near Kalindi Kunj. Sudhi had, on Monday, mentioned the matter before a three-judge Bench headed by CJI SA Bobde, who asked him to approach the registry for urgent listing of the matter.

The petition seeks appropriate direction to the respondents, including the Union of India (UOI) for laying down detailed, comprehensive and exhaustive guidelines relating to outright restrictions for holding protest/agitation leading to obstruction of the public place. It said that people in Shaheen Bagh are illegally protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019, by blocking the common and public road connecting Delhi to Noida.

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.

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.


**READ THE ACT HERE: Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: A bench of SK Kaul and KM Joseph, JJ has adjourned the hearing in the matter pertaining to the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at Shaheen Bagh after the interlocutors submitted their report in a sealed cover. The Court will now take up the matter on February 26 after going through the report.

The two Amicus Curiae, senior advocates Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran, have submitted their report in a sealed cover to the Court after engaging with the anti-CAA protestors last week for shifting the venue from Shaheen Bagh. The Court had last week appointed senior advocates — Sanjay Hedge, Sadhana Ramachandran and former bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah — as interlocutors to talk to the protestors here and urge them to clear the road and protest at an alternate site.

Earlier, the Court had observed that the protesters can continue their protests but in an area designated for protests.

The PIL, filed by Dr Nand Kishore Garg and Amit Sahni through their lawyer Shashank Deo Sudhi earlier this week, also sought appropriate directions to the Centre and others for removal of protesters from Shaheen Bagh near Kalindi Kunj. Sudhi had, on Monday, mentioned the matter before a three-judge Bench headed by CJI SA Bobde, who asked him to approach the registry for urgent listing of the matter.

The petition seeks appropriate direction to the respondents, including the Union of India (UOI) for laying down detailed, comprehensive and exhaustive guidelines relating to outright restrictions for holding protest/agitation leading to obstruction of the public place. It said that people in Shaheen Bagh are illegally protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019, by blocking the common and public road connecting Delhi to Noida.

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.

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.


**READ THE ACT HERE: Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

Case BriefsSupreme Court

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)

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: A bench of SK Kaul and KM Joseph has said that the protesters at Shaheen Bagh cannot block public road and create inconvenience for others. Issuing notice to Delhi Government & Delhi Police, the Court posted the matter on February 17, 2020 and said,

“Protest has been going on for a long time, how can you block a public road.”

The Court observed that the protesters can continue their protests but in an area designated for protests.

The observation of the Court came while hearing the PILs seeking directions to the Central government for laying down guidelines relating to restrictions for holding protests leading to obstruction to public places.

The PIL, filed by Dr Nand Kishore Garg and Amit Sahni through their lawyer Shashank Deo Sudhi earlier this week, also sought appropriate directions to the Centre and others for removal of protesters from Shaheen Bagh near Kalindi Kunj. Sudhi had, on Monday, mentioned the matter before a three-judge Bench headed by CJI SA Bobde, who asked him to approach the registry for urgent listing of the matter.

The petition seeks appropriate direction to the respondents, including the Union of India (UOI) for laying down detailed, comprehensive and exhaustive guidelines relating to outright restrictions for holding protest/agitation leading to obstruction of the public place. It said that people in Shaheen Bagh are illegally protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019, by blocking the common and public road connecting Delhi to Noida.

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.

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.


**READ THE ACT HERE: Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: A Division Bench of Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan, CJ and Arijit Banerjee, J., directed the State to remove from all Government portals and facebook sites of government institutions and departments the publications that are Anti Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Court further asked the Eastern Railway and Southern-Eastern Railway to place reports with respect to actual details of loss caused to railway property and damages incurred therein. The reports will also contain a statement in regard to the action taken and the action to be taken for recovery of loss caused for such damages to the railway property.

The Bench decided to leave open the legal issue as to whether the State or the Government could issue such publications at State expense or using the government machinery.

Court also noted the Advocate General Kishore Datta’s response with respect restrictions on internet services, that the same have been lifted throughout the State and the publication material which is anti-CAA and NRC to be withdrawn from circulation.[Sri Surajit Saha v. State of W.B., 2019 SCC OnLine Cal 5228, decided on 23-12-2019]