The Delhi High Court today took note of a recent NGT order banning all protests and dharnas around the historic Jantar Mantar area here and said that no further indulgence was required. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar disposed of a PIL seeking direction to prohibit holding of dharna by NGOs, social groups and others and also restraining them from "shouting slogans, distributing pamphlets and littering at Jantar Mantar road". "In view of the recent National Green Tribunal's (NGT) order prohibiting protests at Jantar Mantar, the prayer raised in the writ petition stands satisfied. Now no further order is required.
The petition is disposed of," the bench said. On October 5, the NGT had banned all protests and dharnas around the Jantar Mantar area, which has been a hotspot of many agitations over the past decades, saying such activities violate environmental laws. The PIL before the high court had said that the residents have been left "disgusted and distressed by processions and agitations held by social groups, political parties, NGOs at Jantar Mantar road which continue throughout the day, 365 days a year". Petitioner advocate Rajiv Singh had highlighted that due to unique position of current protest venue being situated at the corner of intersection of Tolstoy Road, Parliament Street and Jantar Mantar road "almost every day, various processions, demonstrations are held on Jantar Mantar road, which are primarily aimed at going towards Parliament House". The petitioners, residents of the area, had further blamed the Delhi Police for diverting the protests to Jantar Mantar Road. Earlier in 2011, high court had ordered the government and police to ensure "demonstrators don't hold the public to ransom". The green panel had said it was the duty of the State to ensure that the rights of the people to live a peaceful and comfortable life are not infringed by those who create noise pollution in the name of their right of freedom of speech and expression, which can never be unlimited. It had also directed the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to remove all make-shift and temporary structures, loud speakers and public address systems from the stretch of the road. The municipal body was also directed to remove the garbage lying in the area and clean it within four weeks. The tribunal had directed the authorities to shift the protesters, agitators and the people holding dharna (sit-in) to alternative site at the Ramleela Grounds in Ajmeri Gate, "forthwith".