The women protestors of Shaheen Bagh have approached the Supreme Court seeking a joint hearing of the pending review petition filed against the Shaheen Bagh judgment with the farm laws petition, in view of the recent developments and subsequent observations made during the farm laws challenge hearings on the right to protest, reported LiveLaw.
The review plea (Kaniz Fatima vs Commissioner of Police) will be considered today, on February 9 by a Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari. The same Bench had delivered the Shaheen Bagh judgment (Amit Sahni vs Commissioner of Police, 2020) and held that the right to protest in public places is not absolute, and public places cannot be occupied indefinitely.
According to LiveLaw, the petition reads:
“The judgment in review is essentially in relation to the right of citizens to protest against the policies of the government. While dealing with the said issue, the judgment in review, this Hon’ble Court has made certain observations and given some findings in relation to the said right to protest and as per the present petitioner/applicant, the observations so made, take away the fundamental right to protest and upset the very concept of dissent which is one of foundations on which our democracy stands.”
With respect to the ongoing farmers’ agitation, the petitioners have stated that there is “a contrasting view on the legality and extent of right to protest at public places” during the ongoing farmers protest in pursuant to the observation made by a CJI led bench in December, last year. The court had said, “We are of the view at this stage that the farmers’ protest should be allowed to continue without impediment and without any breach of peace either by the protesters or the police.”
The top Bench had also expressed its concerns and dissatisfaction with the way the Government of India has been handling the situation. On January 11, Chief Justice Bobde told the Attorney General, “We don’t know what consultative process you followed before the laws. Many states are up in rebellion.”
The Shaheen Bagh petition states that the Constitutional guarantee of fundamental rights available for the benefit of all the citizens is the same and cannot be segregated, reported LiveLaw. Therefore, they have prayed to club the review petition along with the farm laws petitions so as to enable them a chance of oral hearing for making submissions. It reads,
“Take up the accompanying Review Petition (C) Diary No. 24552 of 2020 along with other Applications with W.P. (C) No. 1118 of 2020 (Rakesh Vaishnav & Ors. vs. Union of India & Ors.) and other connected petitions.”