Let’s first parse what Ambedkar had warned against in his final speech to the Constituent Assembly in November 1949: “We must…hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives. It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It means that we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation, and satyagraha. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us.” (Emphasis mine.)
The key sentence in this important paragraph is the one where he points out that when there is no way left for constitutional methods, public protests are justified. After the Supreme Court repeatedly failed to uphold basic fundamental rights and balance the Narendra Modi government’s overreach, there is a question mark on whether there is any way left for constitutional methods. The religion-based criteria in the CAA is unconstitutional. When citizens wanted to protest against the bill, many state governments imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the IPC and arrested protesters. Internet access was shut down in many places across the country. In some places, police action was blatantly unconstitutional.