The Supreme Court of India has dismissed the review petition challenging its October 2020 verdict on Shaheen Bagh protests reiterating its stand that prolonged protests cannot be at the cost of continued occupation of public spaces affecting the rights of others.
A Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari rejected the review plea filed by twelve individuals seeking a review of its October, 2020, judgment which had held that public spaces cannot be occupied indefinitely.
The October ruling came in the context of the protests held against the Citizenship Act or CAA at South Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh area. The protests started on December 15, 2019 and ended only after the lockdown imposed by the Central government on March 24 last year in order to curb the spread of Covid-19 came into force. The protests threw traffic out of gear in Shaheen Bagh, prompting one Amit Sahni, a resident of Delhi, to file a public interest litigation (PIL) before the apex court, resulting in the October 7 decision.
The review petition under Article 137 of the Constitution had raised five grounds to challenge the October order. The main ground for review was the vast powers the judgment conferred on police, leaving scope for its abuse.
The review petitioners had submitted that the judgment of the top court would lead to a situation where the administration would never engage in dialogue with protesters but would instead take action against them including their prosecution.