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"What If Ordinary Citizen...": Supreme Court Questions Political Protests

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has raised questions on the legality of protests led by politicians, particularly highlighting the recent case involving Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and other Congress leaders in New Delhi. The court today stayed the proceedings against them related to a protest march conducted in the state back in 2022.

A bench comprising Justices Hrishikesh Roy and P K Mishra issued a notice to the Karnataka government and the complainant in the case, signaling a careful examination of the legal aspects surrounding the protest.

Justice Prashant Kumar went on to draw an intriguing parallel by asking, "What if an ordinary citizen had carried out a similar protest? Would the criminal case be dismissed in that scenario as well?" Justice Kumar pointed out that the court was also referencing decisions where politicians were involved, raising concerns about the impartiality of the legal system.

The case in question dates back to 2022 when Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and other Congress leaders organized a march to protest against the then Rural Development Minister, K S Eshwarappa. The protesters sought Eshwarappa's resignation following allegations of corruption related to a public work contract that resulted in a contractor, Santosh Patil, tragically taking his own life.

The Supreme Court's decision to stay the proceedings against the Chief Minister and other leaders came as a relief to them, especially after the Karnataka High Court had imposed a fine of ₹ 10,000 on each of them. Additionally, the high court had directed them to appear before a special court on March 6, which has now been put on hold by the top court.


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