New protest guidelines: Only 1,000 allowed at Jantar Mantar
The Delhi Police have drafted new guidelines that seek to impose limits on the maximum number of protesters who can assemble at designated protest spots - Parliament Street, Jantar Mantar, and Boat Club - in Delhi. Additionally, the guidelines also propose to ban protests after "tragic incidents", and hold that only programs of "social and educational awareness" should be allowed. Here are the details.
The proposed limits on the maximum number of protesters
The draft guidelines seek to limit the maximum number of protesters who can assemble at Parliament Street to 2,000. For Jantar Mantar and the Boat Club, the proposed limits are 1,000 people and 100 people, respectively. Additionally, the guidelines seek to ban burning of effigies and documents, cooking and littering, and seeks to limit officially recognized protests to only two a day.
Proposed rules governing use of loudspeakers, PA systems
Additionally, the guidelines also propose that the use of loudspeakers and public announcement systems shouldn't be allowed during protests, unless given prior permission. If permission is granted, they can only be used from 11am to 4pm.
Why the ban on protests resulting out of "tragic incidents"?
Clarifying its stance on the 'type' of protests, the guidelines note that, "Tragic incidents generate huge emotional outbursts... Such outbursts be strictly not allowed and be curbed at initial outset." Additionally, citing past examples, the guidelines hold that "spontaneous, leaderless, and directionless" protests resulting out of "tragic incidents" might lead to protesters damaging public and private property. Hence, such protests should not be allowed.
The guidelines come on the back of a SC ruling
The draft guidelines come on the back of a Supreme Court ruling that quashed a total ban on protests at Jantar Mantar and the Boat Club. Having ruled against a total ban on protests, the Supreme Court had given the Delhi Police two months to "devise proper mechanisms" to allow protests at designated locations. The guidelines have to be submitted by end September.