Jantar Mantar: The Supreme Court's order came on a plea challenging an order of the National Green Tribunal last year that imposed a complete ban on holding protests at Jantar Mantar on grounds that it violates environmental laws.
The Supreme Court today lifted the ‘complete ban’ on holding dharna at the Jantar Mantar and Boar Club near India Gate in the heart of the national capital and directed the Centre to frame guidelines for granting permission for protests at these sites. An SC bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said that complete ban on holding protests at the Jantar Mantar is unacceptable. The bench observed that there was a need to strike a balance between the right to protest and right of citizens to live peacefully.
“There cannot be a complete ban on holding protests at places like Jantar Mantar and Boat Club (near India Gate),” the court said.
The Supreme Court’s order came on a plea challenging an order of the National Green Tribunal last year that imposed a complete ban on holding protests at such sites on grounds that it violates environmental laws. The plea was filed by Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghtan.
Meanwhile, Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has welcomed the Supreme Court’s order.
“AAP welcomes the decision of Hon’ble Supreme Court which has lifted the blanket ban on peaceful protests and demonstrations at Jantar Mantar and Boat Club. It is again victory of people’s rights, victory of democracy,” party MLA from greater Kailash, Saurabh Bharadwaj, said.
Jantar Matar located in New Delhi was founded by Maharaja Jai Singh II in 1724. It has been a popular site for protests over two decades. In was site of many famous protests in last 10 years including Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement, Tamil Nadu’s farmers’ protest and OROP protest.
The Boat Club near India Gate was also among the favorite sites for protestors to hold demonstration. But the are became out of bounds after a massive protest by lakhs of farmers who had set up camp in the area which is few km from the Parliament, PMO and Rashtrapati Bhavan. However, protests at the Boat Club were again allowed in 2011.