Saturday, September 22, 2018
Kashmir Times Logo
Protest Marches banned in Jantar Mantar!
Noise pollution or pollution of democratic freedom?
By Vidya Bhushan Rawat
Today when thousands marched to protect their democratic right to protest and dissent from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar, the National Green Tribunal dwelt a severe blow to that freedom when it asked to immediately put a stop to all forms of protests at the Jantar Mantar because they 'spread' 'noise pollution'. The court said that people living in the vicinity have a right to sleep in peace. The point well taken. We dont know how many 'people' really live in the vicinity of Jantar Mantar except some offices of the political parties who themselves organise various meetings.

We know that this country suffer from noise and all forms of pollution. We respect the demand of Lutyens Delhi to protect itself from noise pollution but I wish to ask as why should they alone be protected. Where is my right to protect from noise pollution during all these festivities. Will we see a noiseless and pollutionless Diwali this year.

Jantar Mantar is the only place where people not only from Delhi but from different parts of the country come to voice their protest which is their democratic right. In democracy, people do protest to get justice. Secondly, this space too was shrinking as already there have been lots of ifs and buts. If the court was worried about noise pollution, it could have asked to reduce the volumes of the Microphones or asking the people speak without the microphones. It has also asked to remove all those who are sitting on the protests. This is a dangerous way to fight 'noise pollution'.

In many of the states, the protests areas have been cleared. Governments dont want to see them. In some of the capital cities we are witnessing that the protest areas have been designated to far away places without any facilities. It means, methods are being used to make these protests useless and kill the political protests. It is sad. Political parties must raise this issue in Parliament. We hope political and social activists will go to the Supreme Court against this order. I think, National Green Tribunal has gone beyond its jurisdiction and it should not allow itself to be used by these fictitious Public Interest Litigations that come in the garb of 'protecting' 'environment' but are basically aimed at curtailing people's political and human rights.

0We hope the Supreme Court will look into this affair which is serious for the health of democracy. We do understand people's right to disagree in these protests and there can be restrictions on the noise level in and around the protesting areas but to deny people from protesting in the heart of the city is not only undemocratic but it will only pave the way towards an authoritarian regime in future. Free space at Jantar Mantar should be protected and it is time for political leaders and legal luminaries to take a call on it and file a litigation against the order in the Supreme Court. It is time to protect democratic rights of the people which are guaranteed not only in our constitution but in all the International Covenants to which we are signatory.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at twitter @freetohumanity Email:

News Updated at : Sunday, October 8, 2017
Comment on this Story 

Top Stories of the Day  
Doctors say it is case of anxiety, hysteria: Police
SRINAGAR, Oct 7: Police today said that the alleged braid chopping attempt in Ganderbal as per medical report turned out to be a case of anxiety and hysteria. Giving details, a police spokesman said today at 3 PM police station Ganderbal received an information that one woman Bokthee (aged about 50 years) wife of Abdul Karim Dar resident of Check Duderhama was brought to Sub District Hospital (SDH) Ganderbal by her family members alleging braid chopping attempt by some unknown person. “Upon t
> Blood bank, ambulance non-functional, SDH has no specialist
> CRPF officer, 2 others injured in Qazigund attack
> Adnan Sami performs on bank of Dal lake
> Separatists call for shutdown on Oct 9
> Clashes erupt during search operation in Pulwama village
Other Stories from Web  
Find us on
Weather Report
Shridev Sharma
Mata Vaishnodevi | Matavaishnodevi | Mata Vaishno Devi
Electric Blanket | Electric Bed Warmers | Electric Under Blankets | Electric Heating Blanket
Web Design Jammu, Web Design Company, Ideogram Jammu
Home | Contact Us | Kashmir Times | Kashmir Times E-Paper - Jammu | Kashmir Times E-Paper - Srinagar | Dainik Kashmir Times | Jammu Prabhat
Copyright 2013 Kashmir Times Group. All rights reserved. Powered by Ideogram Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd.