Located less than a kilometre from Parliament, the area has been a hub of protest (File Photo)
Protests will not be allowed at Jantar Mantar any longer because they lead to noise pollution for people living in the vicinity, the National Green Tribunal ruled on Thursday, ordering the government to immediately evict the protesters from the zone near the historical monument in Lutyens' Delhi.
The green court told the authorities to push the protest zone 3 km away to Ramlila Maidan.
A bench headed by the tribunal chairperson Justice RS Rathore ordered the police and civic authorities "to immediately stop all the activities of dharna, protest, agitations, assembling of people, public speeches, using of loud speakers, etc. at Jantar Mantar road".
Located less than a kilometre from Parliament, the road passing along Jantar Mantar - the outdoor astronomical observatory built in 1724 -- has been the hub of protests from the early nineties. This, after the protests were banned at Boat Club lawns along both sides of Rajpath - after a massive rally by farmer leader Mahendra Singh Tikait a few years ago.
Its proximity to parliament gave the protesters - often too poor to buy themselves a meal and dependent on a food van sent by Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh - a sense that their voice had reached the government.
For years, the ground rule adapted by the police was that protests which comprise no more than 5,000 people could be allowed at Jantar Mantar road.
Bigger protests, up to 50,000, could be held at Ramlila Maidan and anything beyond this limit, would have to move to Burari on the outskirts of the city.
The tribunal's directive comes months after it told the government's pollution control body, Central Pollution Control Board to map sound levels in the area around the protest zone, and report on the spike in noise levels on days protests are held as compared to other days.
On Thursday, the tribunal concluded that the protests violated the environmental laws including Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.