New Delhi: Interlocutors appointed by the Supreme Court filed their report in a sealed cover to the court on the ongoing protests at Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
The interlocutors, advocate Sadhna Ramachandran and senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, placed the report before a bench of justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.
The bench said it would go through the report and hear the matter on February 26.
The report will not be shared with the petitioners and counsels representing the Centre and Delhi Police at this stage. "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,” the bench made it clear, when the counsel for one of the petitioners asked that the report be shared with them too.
Former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah had earlier told the top court that the protest had been peaceful and that it was the police who had unnecessarily put barricades on roads far away from the site and caused inconvenience to commuters.
Social activist Syed Bahadur Abbas Naqvi and Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azad also said the same in their joint affidavit to the apex court. Habibullah, Azad and Naqvi had jointly filed an intervention application in the apex court.
While the apex court had said that people do 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 told the court 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 protestors 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....