Anti-CAA protests: Can’t issue blanket order against invoking NSA, says Supreme Court

Anti-CAA protests: Can’t issue blanket order against invoking NSA, says Supreme Court

A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant agreed to hear Tata Sons Pvt Ltd's appeal and issued notice to the parties concerned. (File)

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea seeking to restrain authorities from invoking the National Security Act (NSA), saying it could not pass any blanket order but would consider if any specific instance of misuse is brought to its notice.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee wondered how it can tie the hands of the authorities when properties are being destroyed during protests.

Taking up a plea which challenged the order of the Delhi Lieutenant Governor giving powers to Delhi Police to invoke NSA for three months starting January 19, Justice Mishra said these were law and order issues and the court had limitations to intervene.

“We are of the opinion that general writ will not lie in this case... We agree that the NSA should not be misused but there cannot be a general direction,” Justice Mishra observed.

Advocate M L Sharma, who filed the PIL, referred to anti-CAA protests and said the authorities may invoke NSA against the protesters.

“You show us a specific instance...We cannot issue a blanket order. If a general direction is passed, this will create a chaos. You don’’t know what is going on in Calcutta, Tripura and Assam. Properties are being burnt and that may be organised,” the bench observed.

Justice Mishra added, “If a person is involved in violence and involved in say hundred criminal cases, then will the government not act?”

The bench allowed him to withdraw the petition and file a fresh one showing instances of misuse of the provisions against protesters.

The Act allows people to be detained for twelve months.

On January 10, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal extended detention powers under NSA to Delhi Police for a three-month period. The PIL termed this “unconstitutional” and violative of fundamental rights. It also challenged the imposition of the Act in Andhra Pradesh.