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In his plea, Shinde argued that due to the ongoing agitation by a particular section of society demanding reservation in public employment and education, the court should direct the State to maintain law and order and ensure the health and well-being of the general public
Amid the ongoing Maratha Reservation agitation in the employment and education section, the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court has observed that every person has a fundamental right to protest and it is the duty of the state to prevent any breach.
“Every individual or group of persons has got fundamental right to protest, however, it should necessarily be by peaceful means and if there is any breach of the same, it is the bounden duty of the State to prevent such breach,” the court observed
The high court has urged both the Maharashtra Government and its citizens to take measures to maintain law and order within the state amid the ongoing agitation, which is demanding reservation for the Maratha community in both education and employment sectors.
The order was passed by a division bench of the Bombay High Court, consisting of Chief Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Arun Pednekar while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Nilesh Shinde.
In his plea, Shinde argued that due to the ongoing agitation by a particular section of society demanding reservation in public employment and education, the court should direct the State to maintain law and order and ensure the health and well-being of the general public.
Advocate MS Deshmukh, representing the petitioner, apprised the court that there has been a longstanding demand from a specific segment of society for the implementation of such reservations. However, over the past two weeks, the protesters have resorted to more strong actions, including organizing sit-ins (Dharnas) and going on hunger strikes.
Deshmukh highlighted a specific incident in a village in Jalna where the Police and District Administration attempted to intervene to maintain law and order. During this intervention, it became evident that the health of the individual leading the protest was rapidly deteriorating, and there was opposition even to providing him with medical assistance.
Advocate General Birendra Saraf provided assurance to the court, affirming that the State Administration shares the same concerns regarding the situation. Saraf explained that the authorities have undertaken several measures to avert any unfortunate incidents and to uphold law and order throughout the State.
Furthermore, Saraf emphasized that the State is equally committed to the health and well-being of all individuals. He further stated that the State is making its utmost efforts to guarantee the maintenance of law and order in the State.
On assurance of Saraf the bench recorded, “Having regard to the statement made by the learned Advocate General before the Court, we have no reason to believe that the State authorities shall not take appropriate action which may be warranted under law, not only to maintain peace, tranquility and the law and order but also to take care of health and well being of all,” the bench said.
The bench also noted that the agitators should not indulge and engage in any activity that poses a threat to the peace and order of society.
“We also expect that the protesters and agitators shall not indulge in any kind of activities which may even remotely pose any threat to the peace and order in the society,” the bench noted.
Case title: Nilesh Baburao Shinde vs State of Maharashtra & Ors.
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