If Police act as per law, many of these problems won’t take place, says SC on Delhi riots; defers Shaheen Bagh case

Administration will determine who is responsible for all this, we don't want to say anything at this stage, Justice Kaul said

Prime News, Nation, (New Delhi), February 26:-The Supreme Court on Wednesday said environment is not conducive to hear PILs against the Shaheen Bagh protest, two days after court-appointed interlocutors filed their report in a sealed envelope.

“Environment isn’t very conducive to hear Shaheen Bagh protests case. Sanity has to be maintained by everyone when a matter is to be heard,” a bench of Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph observed.

“Let everything cool down first. There are larger issues that need to be handled right now. I expect both sides to act responsibly,” Justice Kaul said as the matter was adjourned to March 23.

Referring to the violent clashes in the northeast Delhi, which have claimed 20 lives so far, the bench observed, “The problem is lack of professionalisation of police. And their lack of independence. If the police acts completely in accordance with the law, many of these problems won’t take place. If someone makes an inflammatory remark, police will swing into action but not otherwise.”

“Administration will determine who is responsible for all this, we don’t want to say anything at this stage, Justice Kaul said.

Justice Kaul, however, reiterated that public streets aren’t meant for indefinite protests. “Let the system work. Police and authorities should be allowed to work in a situation like this. When we sent Interlocutors, we were thinking out of the box. We don’t know whether our attempt succeeded or not but we tried something new,” he said.

The top court had on February 4 asked senior advocate Sanjay Hegde to “play a constructive role as an interlocutor” and talk to the Shaheen Bagh protesters to move to an alternative site where no public place would be blocked.

Shaheen Bagh has been the epicentre of agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) for over two months.

Advocates Sadhna Ramachandran and Sanjay Hegde, who were appointed the interlocutors, had placed the report before a bench of justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph which said it would peruse the report and hear the matter on February 26.

The bench had made it clear that the report will not be shared with the petitioners or the lawyers representing the Centre and Delhi Police at this stage.

The report is reportedly based on the daily updates of their interaction put up for the media by the two interlocutors and a broad compilation of the demands of the protesters.

The apex court had earlier said that though people have a fundamental right to protest “peacefully and lawfully”, it was troubled by the blocking of a public road at Shaheen Bagh as it might lead to a “chaotic situation”.

Restrictions have been imposed on the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch and the Okhla underpass, which were closed on December 15 last year due to protests against CAA and NRC.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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