NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday said that there cannot be any 'blanket ban' on holding protests at Jantar Mantar and Boat Club in Delhi.
The National Green Tribunal had in October 2017 banned all protests and dharnas around the historic Jantar Mantar area saying such activities violate environmental laws. The NGT had said that the State had totally failed to protect the right of enjoying pollution-free environment of the citizens living in the Jantar Mantar Road area, close to Connaught Place in the heart of the city.
Lashing out at the State, it had said that steps should be taken to ensure that the rights of the people to live a peaceful and comfortable life are not infringed by those who create noise pollution in the name of the right of freedom of speech and expression.
The PIL before the high court had said that the residents have been left "disgusted and distressed by processions and agitations held by social groups, political parties, NGOs at Jantar Mantar road which continue throughout the day, 365 days a year".
Petitioner advocate Rajiv Singh had highlighted that due to unique position of current protest venue being situated at the corner of intersection of Tolstoy Road, Parliament Street and Jantar Mantar road "almost every day, various processions, demonstrations are held on Jantar Mantar road, which are primarily aimed at going towards Parliament House".
The petitioners, residents of the area, had further blamed the Delhi Police for diverting the protests to Jantar Mantar Road.
Later, the Delhi High Court also disposed of a PIL seeking direction to prohibit holding of dharna and restraining them from "shouting slogans, distributing pamphlets and littering at Jantar Mantar road".
"In view of the recent National Green Tribunals (NGT) order prohibiting protests at Jantar Mantar, the prayer raised in the writ petition stands satisfied. Now no further order is required. The petition is disposed of," the HC bench had said.