After being chosen as an interlocutor in the Shaheen Bagh case on Monday, senior advocate Sanjay Hegde issued a statement that he and his colleague Sadhana Ramachandran had accepted the responsibility placed upon them by the Supreme Court. He mentioned that they would meet all parties to ensure that both the right to protest and orderly civic life is safeguarded. Moreover, Hegde expressed hope that their assistance would help bring about an amicable resolution.
“My colleague Sadhana Ramachandran and I accept the responsibility placed upon us by the Supreme Court. We will be meeting all parties with a view to assisting them to resolve their issues in a manner that respects and safeguards both the right to protest and the requirements of orderly civic life. We hope that our assistance leads to these matters being resolved in good faith and to the satisfaction of all parties.”
Hundreds of people have staged a sit-in protest at Shaheen Bagh in the national capital to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens for over two months now. Earlier in the day, the SC bench comprising Justice Sanjay Kaul and KM Joseph heard multiple petitions demanding the removal of protesters from Shaheen Bagh and the clearance of Kalindi Kunj road. While one petition has been filed by lawyer and activist Amit Sahni seeking the removal of protesters under the supervision of a retired judge of the Supreme Court or the Delhi High Court, BJP leader Nand Kishor Garg filed the second petition. The court questioned whether a public road could be blocked in this manner.
At the same time, the apex court clarified that the limited question before it was concerning the place at which an indefinite protest of this nature could be held. The bench asked the interlocutors to mediate with the Shaheen Bagh protesters and explore the possibility of shifting the protest to alternative venues such as Ramlila Maidan and Jantar Mantar. The interlocutors have been directed to submit a report on the outcome of the talks by February 24, the next date of the hearing.