“I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the system of exploitation.” – Malcolm
Fundamental rights are not absolute in nature. This fact has been established very clearly in various judgements. In a recent case of Neetu Bajaj vs State of Haryana, the HC of Punjab & Haryana observed “Protest by the unions or associations or people is permitted but at the places which have been earmarked for the same. This does not give them a licence to put the general public to inconvenience and cause not only difficulty for the people at large but virtually harassing them in a way leading to putting pressure and forcing the Government to accept their demands.”
The matter started due to the protest which has been started by the Sarpanches across Haryana regarding an ‘e-tendering’ rule introduced by the State for infrastructure-related works in all villages. Although the Protest is going on for the past 2 months it escalated after the Sarpanches Association blocked the Panchkula-Chandigarh road. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by a doctor, in which it was contended that she was not able to reach the hospital on time due to the protest.
A division bench of Justices Augustine George Masih and Vikram Aggarwal further observed, “Leniency and refrain to the extent which does not put the general public to peril and inconvenience is understandable. But when associations and organizations and even people at large get together to block any public road, Administration should take immediate steps to not let such a thing to happen which in our considered view, the authorities, in the present case, have failed to take note of leading to the situation which we are faced with.”