New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said that all pleas seeking the removal of anti-Citizenship law protestors from Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh will be heard on February 10, after the polling is concluded in the national capital to avoid any unwanted chaos.
The Delhi Assembly election will be held tomorrow, February 8, and the counting of votes is scheduled to be held on February 11. Announcing the order, the apex court said that it did not want to “influence” the polls.
“We understand there is a problem and we have to see how to resolve it. We will take it up on Monday. We will be in a better position by then,” said a bench comprising justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.
The Supreme Court also observed during the hearing that petitions regarding Shaheen Bagh protests should be dealt with by the Delhi High Court. “We think it would be appropriate if the high court deals with the matter. The high court is the appropriate forum and we can issue directions to this effect,” the bench noted.
Restriction orders were put in place to contain the traffic situation for bypassers using Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch and the Okhla underpass that has been closed since December 15 in view of anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) and anti-NRC (National Register of Citizens) protests in South Delhi.
The top court was hearing an appeal by advocate Amit Sahni who had challenged the January 14 order of the high court directing the police to deal with the situation keeping in mind law and order. Sahni said that due to the protests, that have been continuing over a month now, traffic flow on Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch has been affected badly.
When the bench said it would hear the matter on February 10, advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi, appearing for the petitioner and former Delhi MLA Nand Kishore Garg, said that voting for Delhi Assembly elections would be held on Saturday.
Garg has filed a plea in the top court seeking directions to the authorities to remove the protestors from Shaheen Bagh. He had said that the law enforcement system was being “held hostage to the whims and fancies of the protesters” who have hampered the vehicular and pedestrian movement on the Delhi-Noida connecting stretch.
Earlier, Sahni had approached the high court seeking directions to the Delhi Police to ensure smooth traffic flow on the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch. His plea sought to lay down of comprehensive and exhaustive guidelines relating to outright restrictions for holding protests or agitations leading to obstruction of a public place.
“It is disappointing that the state machinery is muted and a silent spectator to hooliganism and vandalism of the protesters who are threatening the existential efficacy of the democracy and the rule of law and had already taken the law and order situation in their own hand,” the plea said.
It added that the Shaheen Bagh protest was “undoubtedly within the constitutional parameter” but it has lost its legality as constitutional protection was being “blatantly and brazenly flouted and violated”.
(With PTI inputs)