SC Order on Shaheen Bagh Protest Introduced Dangerous Constitutional Ideas – By Pratap Bhanu Mehta
….laws around sedition, laws around preventive detention, laws that prevent protest from taking place, law that allows police to easily arrest protestors, you know, anti-conversion laws, laws that regulate NGOs – the whole panoply, in a sense, of legal instruments that are brought into place by liberal democratic states is actually making dissent much more difficult, paradoxically, even in liberal democracies….
… one of the claims that I want to make… is that this contemporary moment of this suspicion of dissent, this crackdown on dissent, a subterfuge, in a sense, about managing and crushing dissent, and in particular, dealing with dissenters almost as if they were criminals.
And my starting point is an observation in this rather troubling judgment that was passed in the Shaheen Bagh protest case…. The judgement was troubling in more ways, more levels than one can list…. The judicialisation of politics is always dangerous, in part because it always puts you in this corner solution – is dissent a right or not? As I said, you actually can’t answer this question without looking at the normative content of dissent.