Following the Supreme Court appointing him as an interlocutor along with advocate Sadhana Ramachandran in the Shaheen Bagh matter — to talk to the protestors and persuade them to move to an alternative site where no public place is blocked — senior advocate Sanjay Hegde has released a statement accepting the role.
“My colleague Sadhana Ramachandran and I accept the responsibility placed upon us by the Supreme Court. We will be meeting all parties with a view to assisting them to resolve their issues in a manner that respects and safeguards both the right to protest and the requirements of orderly civic life. We hope that our assistance leads to these matters being resolved in good faith and to the satisfaction of all parties,” Hegde said.
In a hearing held on Monday, the Supreme Court said that people have a fundamental right to protest against a law but the blocking of public roads is a matter of concern and there has to be a balancing factor.
Hearing pleas over the blockage of road due to the ongoing protests at Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), a bench comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph said its concern is about what will happen if people start protesting on roads.
The matter has been posted for next hearing on February 24.
The apex court was hearing an appeal filed by advocate Amit Sahni, who had approached the Delhi High Court seeking directions to the Delhi Police to ensure smooth traffic flow on the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch, which was blocked by anti-CAA protesters on December 15.
While dealing with Sahni's plea, the High Court had asked local authorities to deal with the situation keeping in mind law and order.
Separately, former BJP MLA Nand Kishore Garg has filed a petition in the apex court seeking directions to the authorities to remove the protestors from Shaheen Bagh.
One of the pleas has sought laying down of comprehensive and exhaustive guidelines relating to outright restrictions for holding protests or agitations leading to obstruction of public place.
In his plea, Garg has said that law enforcement machinery was being "held hostage to the whims and fancies of the protesters" who have blocked vehicular and pedestrian movement from the road connecting Delhi to Noida.
The top court had earlier said the anti-CAA protesters at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh cannot block public roads and create inconvenience for others.