In the months leading up to the Ram Navami celebrations, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition highlighting a frightening trend – religious processions were being “weaponised” with participants brandishing arms and exposing bystanders to potential harm. The petitioner, NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace, was represented by Senior Advocate C.U. Singh, who painstakingly appealed to the court to develop a standard operating procedure for granting permissions for religious processions.
The court, led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrarchud, emphasized the danger of focusing on negative events and the need to look at the “good things that happen in this country”. To this, Mr. Singh countered by emphasising how the Court should acknowledge the reality of how these processions had become “weaponised” and put down guidelines to prevent future escalation of tensions.
The Court rejected the petition on the basis that the reliefs sought were “not capable of being dealt with by the application of judicially manageable standards”. It was of the view that state governments should either issue regulations or respond on a case-by-case basis while granting permissions and that directions to ensure that processions are unarmed and conducted in accordance with the permissions were not required.
Citizens for Justice and Peace was established in 2002, when a series of deadly communal riots struck Gujarat. The legal non-profit works to protect vulnerable communities and push for justice, protecting their rights and securing better laws and policies. Its main focus is on protecting human rights in cases regarding communal violence, custodial deaths, police atrocities, bonded labor and more.
C.U. Singh, the lawyer representing the NGO, is one of the most prominent names in the Indian judicial scene. Over the course of his career, he has left an indelible mark due to his expertise in constitutional law and human rights. Gandhi Peace Award laureate, he has been recognised several times for his relentless work in protecting the rights of citizens and his advocacy for important causes. He is known as an eminent environmental law specialist and has been associated with many important cases involving public administration and non-profit organizations.