The ongoing dissent, protest and movements in India are all these things a new term in India or happening for the first time, are these all things not a part of the Indian culture?
Protest are in the blood of India movements such as Quit India Movement Swadeshi, Satyagraha without all this movements would we be able to attain a free India?
Talking about the last year there were lakhs of people protesting against the citizenship amendment act.
And the ongoing protest about the farm law this year making their Momentum in Delhi now does all this protestors do not have a risk of legal action such as police actions?
And if the answer is yes, then what kind of protections are available against them?
Are such kind of protest a threat to the democracy? and the last question does the government take the conditions of tge protesters in consideration?
In any democracy the citizens are the most important assets of the country.
When the British people were ruling over India the Indian citizen had no such rights,
Therefore fundamental rights were given to the Indian citizens so that the Indian citizens could speak for themselves when there right is being violated.
No why this right to protest is so important for any kind of democracy?
Now the government brings new policies time to time which is monitored by certain people and after recognising the loop holes and short comings of the policies and to address such shortcomings one way is there of peaceful demonstration or peaceful protest.
Now we have to keep one thing in mind that if any protest is not peaceful then that protest is not considered as lawful, in every democracy the citizens are given certain rights so that they can raise their voice; we have seen such kind of protest in the Nirbhaya case, during the formation of the state Andhra Pradesh and many more.
Now among the fundamental rights that have been given to the Indian citizens know where the word protest is been mentioned, in spite of that article 19 very strongly protects the right of Indian citizens to protest.
Coming to article 19 of the Indian Constitution
Article 19 ( 1) ( a) talks about the freedom of speech and expression. Which gives every citizen to freely Express their right opinion.
the second article 19 (1)(b )talks about the right to protest peacefully without arms.
And the third one article 19 1 c is about the right to form associations and trade unions.
And these three articles together give the Indian citizens to peacefully protest.
Now in any Democracy the right to protest has been protected encouraged and respected but these are not of absolute nature which means that people do not have absolute right to protest.
In Article 19 only certain restrictions have been mentioned which can be applied on the protestors, for example if any protest is attacking the sovereignty integrity security and the relations of India with other states then such protest can be restricted on the basis of the clauses mentioned in Article 19.
Now up to here we get to understand that citizens to have a right to protest and the administration does also have a right to restrict certain protests.
No we have also seen that certain protestors are being harassed by the police officers sometimes police brutality excessive force have also been exercised upon the protestors. Some times on the basis of you UAPA, sedition laws and NSA arbitrary detention have also been done.
Within the last few years there have been more than 30 deaths and more than 1000 to 5,000 detention.
Therefore India’s ranking on the basis of human development index in 2020 has dropped by 131.
Now taking a few landmark case laws which will help us to understand clearly the extent of such protest.
1. CAA Protests Shaheen Bagh ( Amit Sahni v. Commissioner of Police)
In this case the supreme court had clearly said that public places cannot be occupied for indefinite period of time by the protestors. Therefore in such case the administration had the right to clear the area.
2. Ramlila Maidan Incident v. Home Secretary, Union of India & Ors. case (2012)
In this case in 2011 Baba Ramdev had asked for permission for a yoga camp in ramlila maidan in which more than 1000 people had gathered but these people started to protest against black money, many negotiations were also done so that this protest could be stopped but as nothing was effective so section 144 was imposed instead. In this case the Supreme court had said that “citizens have a fundamental right to assembly and peaceful protest which cannot be taken away by an arbitrary executive or legislative action” and therefore the action done by the police was not right.
So we see here is that article 19 protect our voice of demand and peaceful protest.
Whereas on the other hand Articl 51(a) imposes a duty on the administration to safeguard public property.
So only peaceful protest are lawful, and if any protest outrages the public or blocks roads or any kind of violent protest then that kind of protests are not considered as lawful.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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