The Supreme Court asked a Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party leader on Tuesday to approach its mentioning officer to get an early date for hearing of his plea seeking the removal of hundreds of anti-citizenship law protestors occupying a road-stretch in Delhi's Shaheen Bagh area.
BJP leader Nand Kishore Garg has urged the top court for an urgent hearing, considering the difficulty faced by residents due to the nearly-two-month-long protest on a road connecting Delhi and Noida. Also, various other arterial roads of Delhi have been facing traffic congestion due the protest.
Restrictions have been imposed on the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch and Okhla underpass since December 15, when hundreds of women sat on a protest against the amended law.
"You go to the mentioning officer," the SC bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde told Garg.
Saying that the law-enforcement machinery has been "held hostage to the whims and fancies of the protesters," the plea has sought laying down of guidelines for protests leading to obstruction of public place.
"It is disappointing that the state machinery is muted and silent spectator at 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," said the plea.
It said the Shaheen Bagh protest is "undoubtedly within the constitutional parameter" but it has lost its legality as constitutional protections were being "blatantly and brazenly flouted and violated."
The State has a duty to protect the fundamental rights of its citizens, who have been facing trouble due to the road blockade, it said.
"Hence, it is urgently required that the public places must not be allowed to be abused and misused for ulterior and mala fide purposes such as staging protest against the constitution amendment in the heart of the capital city and thereby causing incalculable hardships and difficulties to the common people," it said.
It said a similar plea was filed by another litigant in the Delhi high court, which on January 14 directed the local authority to deal with the situation. The litigant has filed an appeal in the apex court against the high court order and sought supervision of the situation in Shaheen Bagh by a retired Supreme Court judge or a sitting judge of the Delhi high court.