Updated: Nov 28, 2020
PAPER 1 UPSC LAW OPTIONAL MAINS
SUBJECT : INDIAN CONSITUTION
ARTICLE 1 | SUDDEN, ORGANIC PROTESTS SHOULD NOT AUTOMATICALLY INVITE THE STATE’S STRONG ARM
What happened ? With reference to Shaheen bagh protest, Supreme Court has ventured to hold that any such indefinite blockade of a public pathway is unacceptable. And that the administration ought to take action to remove “encroachments and obstructions” placed during such protests.
· The Right to protest peacefully is enshrined in the Indian Constitution—Article 19(1)(a) guarantees the freedom of speech and expression; Article 19(1)(b) assures citizens the right to assemble peaceably and without arms.
· Article 19(2) imposes reasonable restrictions on the right to assemble peaceably and without arms.
o These reasonable restrictions are imposed in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.
Relevant Case Law | Ramlila Maidan Incident v. Home Secretary, Union Of India & Ors. case (2012), the Supreme Court had stated, “Citizens have a fundamental right to assembly and peaceful protest which cannot be taken away by an arbitrary executive or legislative action.”
Conclusion | The ruling should not form the basis for suppression of such protests by the force of the state. Both principles the need for balance between the right to protest and the right to free movement, and the rule that protests should take place at designated spots are salutary from an administrative point of view. But these cannot become unquestionable axioms to the point of rendering any and all protests that cause inconvenience to others the target of the strong arm of the state.
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