The Right to Protest

Posted on January 25, 2014, No Comments admin

The right to peacefully protest ispart of legitimate political activity. Protest is a form of expression. Undoubtedly every citizen has a right to dissent, protest being a form of dissent.

Is this right to be denied to the Head of an elected government? This is a question that the Chief Minister of Delhi has asked. There is a responsibility on an elected Government and its Head to carry on the governance of the State in accordance with the Constitution. If we examine the details of what the AAP government in Delhi did, the answer to the question will be as self-evident. The Ministers abandoned the Sachivalya. They took the police by surprise and engineered a dharna at a place where it was prohibited. They broke the law. They sent messages to their supporters to assemble in large numbers. Their supporters tried to break the police barricade. The Head of the Government delivered a speech advocating anarchy as a form of government. He appealed to policemen to go on leave, discard their uniform and join the protest. He threatened to obstruct the Republic Day parade by marching lakhs of his supporters on to the Rajpath. If the police in Delhi had responded to his call and abandoned its duty coupled with an invasion of his supporters during the Republic Day parade at the Rajpath, could it be said that the governance is being carried on in accordance with the Constituition. The answer to this question is a definitive ‘No’.

There is a difference between sitting on a fast at Rajghat and giving a call to policemen to abandon their duty and obstructing the Republic Day parade. I am sure Shri Arvind Kejriwal realizes this.

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