News: The Supreme Court has said that farmers have a constitutional right to continue with their “absolutely perfect” protest as long as their dissent against the three controversial agricultural laws did not slip into violence.
- Background: This ruling came by the Supreme Court during the hearing of a batch of petitions seeking removal of protesting farmers from the Delhi borders.
- Verdict: The Supreme Court has stated that it is the fundamental right of the farmers to protest as long as the protest is constitutional and does not destroy property or endanger life.
- Right to Protest: The right to protest peacefully is enshrined in the Indian Constitution—Article 19(1)(a) guarantees the freedom of speech and expression; Article 19(1)(b) assures citizens the right to assemble peaceably and without arms.
- However, these rights are also subject to reasonable restrictions mentioned under Article 19(2).
- Supreme Court Judgements on Right to Protest:
- Ramlila Maidan Incident vs Home Secretary, Union Of India & Ors. case(2012): The Supreme Court had stated that citizens have a fundamental right to assembly and peaceful protest which cannot be taken away by an arbitrary executive or legislative action.
- Shaheen Bagh Judgement: The Supreme Court has upheld the right to peaceful protest against the law but made it unequivocally clear that public ways and public spaces cannot be occupied and that too indefinitely.