The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the government cannot impose a complete ban on demonstrations in Central Delhi localities such as Jantar Mantar and Boat Club, Bar and Bench reported. The government can, however, issue guidelines governing these protests, it said.

Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan passed the verdict in a petition filed by the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, a non-governmental organisation seeking directions to allow these demonstrations. Advocate Prashant Bhushan appeared for the petitioners, while Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta represented the Centre.

The petitioners told the court that the Delhi Police had been issuing prohibitory orders banning demonstrations in these areas for several years. These orders amounted to abuse of power and obstructed citizens’ fundamental right to protest, the petitioners contended.

In October, the New Delhi Municipal Council and the Delhi Police evicted protestors from Jantar Mantar following the National Green Tribunal’s order banning demonstrations in the area. About 17 groups of protestors had set up tents and makeshift structures in the area.