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'Public Places Cannot Be Occupied Indefinitely': SC On Shaheen Bagh Petitions

"Started out as a protest and caused inconvenience to commuters."
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People sit at a distance as they continue their protest against CAA amid a lockdown order by Delhi's government as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 on March 23, 2020 in Shaheen Bagh.
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People sit at a distance as they continue their protest against CAA amid a lockdown order by Delhi's government as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 on March 23, 2020 in Shaheen Bagh.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that while dissent and democracy go hand in hand, protests must be carried out in designated area. The court was hearing a batch of petitions concerning road blockade at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh during the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The bench led by SK Kaul said that public places cannot be occupied indefinitely and such kind of occupation of public place for protests is not acceptable.

“We live in an age of technology and development and social media often sees parallel conversations with no constructive outcome,” Justice Kaul said. He added that social media channels often fraught with danger lead to highly polarising environment and this is what was witnessed in Shaheen Bagh, according to LiveLaw. “Started out as a protest and caused inconvenience to commuters.”

The court also said that the administration ought to take action to keep area clear of encroachments and the manner in which they act is their responsibility.

The Shaheen Bagh protest began after the Delhi Police’s brutal crackdown on Jamia students in December and inspired several peaceful protests in other parts of the country. The protest site was cleared in March in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A bench of Justices Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari had reserved its verdict at the last hearing on 21 September,

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This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost India, which closed in 2020. Some features are no longer enabled. If you have questions or concerns about this article, please contact indiasupport@huffpost.com.