The Supreme Court on Monday, taking suo motu cognizance on the death of a four-month-old, questioned how an infant could go to protest at Shaheen Bagh and also how mothers could support this.
A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde issued notice to the Centre and Delhi government on suo moto cognizance it took after a letter by a Bravery Award winner, Zen Gunratan Sadavarte, to stop children and infants’ involvement in demonstration and agitations, in wake of the death of a four-month infant of a Shaheen Bagh protestor.
“We have the highest respect for motherhood, highest concern for children and they should not be treated badly,” said CJI Bobde to lawyers who appeared for mothers of children sitting in protest at Shaheen Bagh.
A group of women from Shaheen Bagh through a lawyer contended before the top court that even Greta Thunberg was a child when she became a protester and raised concerns on children from the area being called “Pakistani” in schools.
The Chief Justice then queried the counsels how a four-month-old could go to the protest site and how mothers could justify the act.
The CJI further told the counsel not to make irrelevant arguments on someone calling a child “Pakistani” in school, NRC, CAA or detention camps.
“In this proceeding, we are considering the death of a four-month-old child.” said the Chief Justice.
“We respect motherhood, social peace. Don’t make arguments to generate guilt…”, added the Chief Justice.
The 4-month-old baby had passed away in his sleep on the night of January 30 after returning from Shaheen Bagh where his parents had taken him during the anti-CAA protest.
The petitioner, a recipient of the 2019 Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) National Bravery Award, said in the letter to the CJI’s office that the parents of the baby and the organisers of the anti-CAA protests at Shaheen Bagh had “failed” to protect the rights of the kid, resulting in his death.
Sadavarte, a student of Class 7 from Mumbai, has alleged that the protesters at Shaheen Bagh include infants and children, who are exposed to conditions unfavourable to them, which is a violation of their rights.
“The Shaheen Bagh protesters at New Delhi, include women, senior citizens, newborns and children, ignoring the fact that newborn babies need a lot of attention and care as they cannot express their pains in particulars thereafter also ignoring the conditions unfavourable to the children, they are brought to the protest place which is violative of their child rights and natural justice,” the letter said.
It also alleged that the police failed in stopping children from participating in such agitations harmful to their health.
It expressed surprise over the fact that even the death certificate of the 4-month-old does not mention the cause of death.