Right to protest doesn’t include hindering traffic/public movement

The recent decision of Supreme Court to not include hindering traffic or public movements in right to protest spares the rest of the society from the inconvenience and blockades caused by these protests. There’s clearly a differentiation between the right to protest which is a democratic right and causing inconvenience to the people as ruled by a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari. They also highlighted that right to protest is albeit a constitutional right but it can’t foster agitation and violence in the society. For example, petitions challenging the validity of CAA are still pending but it doesn’t prevent protesting against its implementation. They also emphasized that hindering traffic and public movements are signs of protesting against the oppressive colonial rulers not in healthy democratic country where discussions and deliberations can reach a solution.

The petition was filed by Monica Agarwal complaining about the road blockades in nation’s capital due to farmers’ protest. The bench led by Justice S.K. Kaul highlighted that the problem of protests of farmers for the 3 agriculture laws can be solved with the government’s steps. There have been protests in the nation’s capital for a year. The court has ordered state governments to look after the issue and fine a solution.

“The solution lies in the hands of the Union and States. If the protests are on, the traffic should not be stopped in any manner, so that to and fro for people is not disturbed,” the Bench highlighted.

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