SC seeks Centre's response on plea against prohibitory orders in central Delhi

SC seeks Centre's response on plea against prohibitory orders in central Delhi

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to respond within four weeks on a plea challenging the repeated imposition of prohibitory orders in central Delhi, depriving citizens of their right to hold peaceful protests and demonstrations on any issue.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan agreed that there has to be a balance between the right to hold peaceful protests and maintenance of law and order and inconvenience to the public.

The court sought assistance from Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on a plea filed by Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the organisation, contended that repeated imposition of orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, banning protests in central Delhi, was arbitrary.

This infringed the fundamental right to peaceful assembly and citizens right to protest, he submitted.

Calling the restrictions illegal, he sought directions to lay guidelines for holding public meetings, dharnas and peaceful demonstrations in various parts of New Delhi.

During the hearing, the bench told Bhushan that his plea was questioning the National Green Tribunal's order for prohibiting any protest meetings or demonstrations at Jantar Mantar.

Bhushan, however, said his plea raised the larger question of citizens' right while the directions issued by the NGT would be challenged separately.

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