Law

Supreme Court: Interlocutors Submit 'Sealed Cover' Report on Shaheen Bagh Protest

The bench said it would peruse the report and the matter would be heard on February 26.

New Delhi: Court-appointed interlocutors on Monday filed their report in a sealed cover in the Supreme Court on the ongoing protests at Shaheen Bagh here against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

Advocate Sadhna Ramachandran, who was appointed an interlocutor along with senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, placed the report before a bench of justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph.

The bench said it would peruse the report and the matter would be heard on February 26.

It made it clear that the report of interlocutors will not be shared with the petitioners and counsels representing the Centre and Delhi Police at this stage.

At the outset, Ramachandran told the court that she is grateful for the opportunity given to her and the interlocutors had a learning experience which was positive also.

“Let us examine it. We will hear the matter day after tomorrow,” the bench said.

When the counsel for one of the petitioners said the report be shared with them also, the bench said, “We are here. Everyone is here. Let us have the benefit of the report first. The copy of the report is for the court only.”

Also Read: Delhi Police, Not Protestors, to Blame for Traffic Around Shaheen Bagh: Ex CIC Tells SC

Former chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah had earlier told the top court that the protest was peaceful and inconvenience being caused to commuters was due to barricades “unnecessarily” put by police on roads far away from the site.

The same stand has been taken by social activist Syed Bahadur Abbas Naqvi and Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad in their joint affidavit filed in the apex court in the matter. Habibullah, Aazad and Naqvi have jointly filed an intervention application in the apex court which is seized of the matter.

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”.

Naqvi and Azad, in their joint affidavit, have alleged that “the present ruling dispensation, at the behest of its political masters, had devised a strategy of extinguishing these protests by falsely attributing violence and acts of vandalism to peaceful protestors”.

Habibullah, in his affidavit, has also stated that the protesters have asked him to convey to the apex court that their dissent “was out of desperation and compulsion” as they see the CAA, National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) as a “death knell” for their and future generations’ survival and existence.

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.

Separately, former BJP MLA Nand Kishore Garg has filed a plea in the apex court seeking directions to authorities to remove protestors from Shaheen Bagh.