Right to Protest has to be balanced with Right to free movement

#GS2 #Constitution #FundamentalRights

The Supreme Court on September 21, 2020 observed that the right to protest is not an absolute right and it comes with certain restrictions. The court stated that while there is no dispute that citizens have the right to protest, a balance has to be maintained between the right to protest and the right to mobility for others. 

  • The Supreme Court submitted its observations while disposing of a batch of petitions seeking the court's urgent direction for immediate dispersal of protestors from Shaheen Bagh in Delhi or any other such sites amid the pandemic situation.  
  • One of the pleas filed in March had stated that despite Delhi Government restrict the gathering of more than 50 people till March 31st, the protestors did not vacate the premises. 
  • The plea stated that the protesters had no right to endanger the lives of thousands of innocent people in the name of exercising their fundamental right to protest.
  • The Supreme Court bench led by Justice SK Kaul, after hearing all the arguments, reserved its judgment on the aspect of "the need to balance the right to protest with the right of mobility by other people." The apex court stated that it will pass a short order on the case to deal with future situations when roads are used for protests. 


Right to Protest has to be balanced with Right to free movement: SC

  • The apex court observed that it is not disputing the right to protest but it has to be balanced with people's right to free movement. It added saying that for a long time, the public road was blocked and people were denied movement on the road. 
  • The top court stated that the key issue is where and how and how long such protests can go on, and what about the right to use the road. 


There cannot be a universal policy on right to protest: SC

  • Upon receiving a suggestion for forming a universal standard policy on Right to Protest, the Supreme Court stated that there cannot be a universal policy. 
  • The court added that in a parliamentary democracy like India, there is an avenue of debate, the only issue is in what manner and where .. and for how long and how to balance it.


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