Right to protest is a fundamental right but subject to certain restrictions. Our Constitution provides right to protest but that doesn’t mean encroach and occupy upon public roads, public property, public spaces. The protest shall be peaceful and not hamper the integrity of the nation. Protest shall take place only in the designated places. I totally agree with the statement that Right to protest should not cloud the right to mobility. The Supreme Court has said Right to Protest of one section has to be in balance with others Right to mobility on a public road, as everyone has the right to move from one place to another and this right cannot be prejudiced by blocking a public road to hold protest.
An unrestricted usage of these rights might cause defamation, contempt of court, public disorder etc. In context of Right to Protest against Right to mobility the court has laid down a detailed procedure through a line of judgements. Starting from the Ramleela Maidan case and till the recent judgement of Amit Sahni vs Commissioner of Police, the courts have repeatedly made their position clear that public places cannot be obstructed indefinitely in the name of protests.
The Right to Protest forms the bedrock of democracy but it is subject to reasonable restrictions under Article 19(2). When such a clash among rights is affecting the public at large then it needs to be restricted for the larger public interest. Right to way includes the way for emergency vehicles thereby its directly related to the overall public order of the state.
Right to protest and voice opinion is an essential feature of democracy provided that the same is conducted in a lawful manner. Dissent and democracy go hand in hand. The job of the state is to balance both sides and bring stability to society. The Constitution Of India guarantees Fundamental Rights to every citizen of the country and under Article 19 every person has the right to express one’s opinion freely without any fear. However, there exists some reasonable restrictions which the people need to understand and act accordingly. The mobilization of the people should not be hampered due to the ongoing protests.
The protest by farmers in New Delhi is viewed by some experts in a similar light, as a right to demand what they desire from the government, while others see this as a brute attack on civilized society by blocking the roads and traffic. The protests has adversely affected the livelihood of people and caused hardship to common man living in cities and towns.
Shaheen Bagh Protest
The protest led by women of Shaheen Bagh became the epicenter of anti protests across the nation against the passage of the Citizenship Amendment act. It started on December 14, 2019 and ended on March 24, 2020 after a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid – 19 was imposed. Shaheen bagh is a locality in South east Delhi.
Petitions were filed to remove the blockade by protestors and open up the road. The court verdict was that the Public spaces and places can’t be occupied indefinitely whether in Shaheen Bagh or elsewhere. The administration must keep such spaces free from obstructions. Protest should be at designated places. No person or group of person can block public places or carriage ways to demonstrate or express dissent. The supreme court said right to peaceful protest is a constitutional right and it has to be respected.
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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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.
We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge