Defending Peaceful Protests
While the Supreme Court appreciated the right to peaceful protest against a legislation, it made it unambiguously clear that protests in public places for an indefinite period of time are unacceptable. A three-judge bench held that democracy and dissent go hand in hand, but the demonstrations expressing dissent have to be in designated places alone. The court also said that protests must not become a blockage of a public way that causes inconvenience to commuters. The order came in response to a petition on the Shaheen Bagh protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. A significant aspect of democracy is that citizens have the right to freely express their views, mobilise and protest. On the other hand, they are not entitled to infringe the rights of fellow citizens. While the apex court order will safeguard the rights of commuters, it will not completely do so in the case of protestors. Restrictions to protest, especially in the cases of groups that have no other way to express themselves publicly will jeopardise the right to freedom of expression. True, protests may cause a little inconvenience to people and ordinary life. However, the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and freedom of association are indispensable in a democracy. It is unjustified to specify where public assemblies must occur in a democracy. Given that political and social participation through public demonstration is critical to the consolidation of democracy, judiciary and the governments are expected to accord due weight to its importance.
VENU G S, KOLLAM
Postage Stamp On COVID Warriors
It is understood that a special philatelic cover on the Basilica of Bom Jesus at Old Goa is being released to commemorate the 180th year of expansion of postal services in Goa in connection with the World Post Day. It is true that the Basilica, which stands out as a unique monument for its exposed laterite walls and Renaissance style of architecture, is visited by thousands of tourists and pilgrims from across the globe the whole year round. India Post will be celebrating October 9-14 as the National Postal Week. It is a well-known fact that in these times of the pandemic, the COVID warriors have been providing yeomen service to citizens, who have been infected by the deadly coronavirus and in the process putting their own lives at risk. These COVID warriors include doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, hospital workers, policemen and even postmen among others. There have been several instances of doctors contracting the virus while on line of duty. Some have even succumbed to the disease. Since these COVID warriors have been working silently to help people deal with the pandemic, it would be desirable for the Goa postal division to also release a postage stamp in honour of the COVID warriors during the National Postal Week. It is the least we can do to show our gratefulness to these real-life heroes, who are serving humanity in these trying times.
ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO