SC says Shaheen Bagh protesters can't block roads, but declines to pass orders

SC issued notices to the Centre, Delhi govt, posted the matter for hearing on Feb 17

shaheen-bagh-republic-day-reuters Demonstrators attend Republic Day celebrations at the protest site against the CAA, in Shaheen Bagh, New Delhi | Reuters

In what will come as a relief for people protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Shaheen Bagh in Delhi, the Supreme Court on Monday declined to pass orders for immediate clearance of roads in the area.

Petitions were filed against blockade of roads in Shaheen Bagh and Kalindi Kunj where protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act started in December.

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued notices to the Centre, Delhi Police and Delhi government and posted the matter for hearing on February 17.

The two-judge bench of Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph noted "protests cannot go on for an indefinite period on a public road". The Supreme Court noted areas must be identified for carrying out such protests and that protesters at Shaheen Bagh cannot block public roads and create inconvenience for others. "There is a law and people have grievance against it. The matter is pending in court. Despite that some people are protesting. They are entitled to protest," the bench noted.

However, Justice Kaul was quoted by Live Law as saying, "Protests have been going on for 50 days. It can go on a little longer," declining pleas for interim directions. The Supreme Court noted it would not pass any direction on the Shaheen Bagh protests "without hearing the other side".