When a group, community, or even a single person goes up to protest, it is usually to express their displeasure with or opposition to a state or government action, policy, statement, or another organization. The majority of protests are driven by political waves, which show individuals banding together to demand that the government or state recognize their concerns and take steps to address them. Protests serve two purposes: first, they allow a community, group, or individual to express their dissatisfaction with a policy, and second, they allow the government to discover flaws in its policy or action and try to improve it. Protests can be traced all the way back to the pre-independence period:
India has a long and illustrious history of protests. Until 1972, India was a British colony ruled by Britishers.
Because of a protracted series of protests led by our liberation fighters, its people became free citizens in the post-independence era.
The power of nonviolent protest was taught to Indian citizens by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi, who is also considered as the father of the Indian country.
So, whether it was the Swadeshi Movement of 1905 or the Satyagraha of 1930, these movements changed the nation’s history as peaceful resistance to colonial control.
In every battle, Indians fought valiantly to openly voice their views on colonial policies, exhibit dissent against British colonization, and speak to and against the government.
In a democratic democracy, one must stick to their obligations or responsibilities while exercising or enjoying the right to peaceful protest.
What is the definition of a protest?
A protest is a manner of expressing displeasure or opposition to any government or organization’s action, remark, or policy that seeks to accuse a group of people against themselves. Most protests are about political problems, and protestors band together to make their ideas and demands heard by the government, as well as to persuade other individuals to join them.
The goal of staging a demonstration is to publicly question the government about a certain action or policy and make them respond in a consistent manner. The protest also aids the government in identifying flaws in their actions, allowing them to improve their work. In a democratic system, of that kind, peaceful protest is one of the key qualities that can be critiqued by the populace by allowing people to raise their voices and express their opinions on any social or national issue.
Right to protest a Fundamental right
Fundamental rights are seen as an integral aspect of the basic foundation of the Indian constitution, which cannot be violated in any case. These fundamental rights safeguard citizens’ rights and give redress when they are violated.
Although all liberties are vital and serve distinct purposes, it is important right that provides citizens with various freedoms. The Constitution’s Article 19 It is only in Article 19 that the right to demonstrate is included. Although the term “protest” is not officially included in the Indian Constitution’s fundamental rights, it is inferred from a careful reading of Article 19.
According to Article 19(1)(b) of the Constitution, the right to a peaceful assembly without arms is a basic right.
Articles 19(1)(a), 19(1)(b), and 19(1)(c) of the Constitution guarantee citizens the right to freedom of expression, the right to congregate peacefully without weapons, and the right to organize associations or trade unions. These three articles establish the right to protest, stating that a protester may exercise his right to demonstrate against any topic of national or social concern.
‘Citizens have a basic right to assemble and peaceful protest that cannot be withdrawn from arbitrary executive or legislative action,’ the Supreme Court said in Re: Ramlila Maidan Incident v. Home Secretary, Union Of India & Bears.
In Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, Justice Bhagwati stated, “If democracy means people’s government, it’s obvious that every citizen must have the right to participate in the democratic process & allow him to intelligently exercise his rights to make a choice, a free and open discussion of public issues is absolutely essential.”
These decisions by the Supreme Court reaffirm constitutional provisions that citizens have the freedom to demonstrate whenever they see fit.
These protests contribute to the strengthening of Indian democracy and the creation of space for nonviolent adversity, which not only defends citizens’ rights but also helps close a loophole. According to the court’s findings, the right to protest is a necessary component of a free democracy
It can be shown that peaceful protest is a fundamental right and the lifeblood of democracy and that without it, the democratic system will fail to function effectively, as protests are a sign of a free, democratic society in which people’s voices are heard and decisions are made appropriately. The freedom of citizens to protest peacefully and congregate without weapons is a cornerstone of India’s democracy. While it is the government’s responsibility to safeguard civilians from violent protests, some fundamental principles must be considered. order to safeguard citizens’ interests.
Although the application of appropriate constraints on the conduct of a demonstration is an important and necessary component of preventing its abuse, it is the State’s job to control the efficient use of that right and to guarantee that it is not misused by the people. As a result, the state’s role is to strike a balance between the two and restore social stability.
The government should welcome reasonable demands and constructive criticism from the public, and in any case, the right to non-submission should not be curtailed, as protests are one way for society, as the watchdog of government activities, to call attention to government work or policies they don’t like, or to demand the rules they need.
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.
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On the other hand, it is the role of every responsible citizen of the country to exercise every right when appropriate and not to unconditionally oppose government acts and policies, which has a negative impact on the country’s overall functioning and predominates in societal instability.
As a result, the freedom to protest is an important component of a democratic society, and it should be exercised correctly when necessary, with the government assisting citizens in exercising their fundamental rights rather than restricting them.