Hearing against Shaheen Bagh protest on Monday, Delhi HC to decide

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday deferred hearing against the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests for the 54th day at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi to Monday as it did not want to "influence" the Delhi Assembly poll on Saturday, hinting it may refer back the matter to Delhi High Court to decide.

"We understand there is a problem and we have to see how to resolve it. We will take it up on Monday. We will be in a better position by then," said a bench comprising justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph.

When an advocate appearing for one of the petitioners said voting for the Delhi election is scheduled on February 8, the bench noted, "That is exactly why we are saying come on Monday. Why should we influence it?" On a lighter note, the court, deferring the petition, said, "Let the cat be out of the bag."

The bench also asked the petitioners to come prepared on Monday to argue on why the matter should not be remitted back to the Delhi High Court that refused to intervene on the ground that it is for police to handle the road blockade.

"We think it would be appropriate if the High Court deals with the matter. The High Court is the appropriate forum and we can issue directions to this effect," the bench said, indicating it does not want to entangle itself in the matter.

The court was hearing an appeal by advocate Amit Shahni on rejection of his petition by the High Court to direct Delhi Police to ensure smooth traffic flow in the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch, blocked by the anti-CAA protesters since December 15.

In the run-up to the Delhi Assembly election, the BJP, led by Home Minister Amit Shah made the Shaheen Bagh protests the target attack and there have been three instances of firing in the area since after Union Minister Anuragh Thakur led a crowd to chant "shoot the traitors" that attracted the Election Commission to debar him from campaigning.

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