The women who protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shaheen Bagh have approached the Supreme Court seeking a joint hearing of the pending review petition filed against the Shaheen Bagh Judgement along with the farm laws petition.
The women have moved court seeking parity with the court’s recognition of the farmers’ right to protest. The petition stated that, “The judgment in review is essentially in relation to the right of citizens against the policies of the government(s)”.
The plea argued that the Shaheen Bagh Judgement of October 2020 “takes away the fundamental right to protest and upsets the very concept of dissent which is one of the foundations on which our democracy stands.”
In the judgement, the bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari had observed: “We have, thus, no hesitation in concluding that such kind of occupation of public ways, whether at the site in question or anywhere else for protests is not acceptable and the administration ought to take action to keep the areas clear of encroachments or obstructions.”
However, while dealing with the challenges of farmers’ protest, the Supreme Court took a restrained approach, stating, “We clarify that this court will not interfere with the protest in question. Indeed the right to protest is part of a fundamental right and can as a matter of fact, be exercised subject to public order. There can certainly be no impediment in the exercise of such rights as long as it is non-violent and does not result in damage to the life and properties of other citizens and is in accordance with law. We are of the view that at this stage, the farmers’ protest should be allowed to continue without impediment and without any breach of peace either by protesters or the police”.
The petition by the Shaheen Bagh women states that the guarantee of fundamental rights is the same for all citizens and cannot be segregated. The petitioners have asked to club this with the farm laws petition to be able to get an oral hearing.