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‘Exorbitant’ bond notices to farmers: Allahabad HC issues notice

Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court. Photo: courtcases.up.nic.in  

The Allahabad High Court has sought a response from the Sitapur district administration in Uttar Pradesh on the “exorbitant” amount of personal bonds and sureties asked of farmers, allegedly to prevent them from participating in the ongoing farm protests.

A division bench of Justices Ramesh Sinha and Rajeev Singh sought the reply on a PIL plea filed by Lucknow-based social activist Arundhati Dhuru.

Ms. Dhuru said in the petition that SDMs (Sub-Divisional Magistrates) in various districts of the State, including Sitapur, had issued notices to thousands of farmers under Section 111 of the CrPC. The farmers were informed that the police suspected that they may get involved in the ongoing farmers protest and commit breach of peace.

Referring to Sitapur, Ms. Dhuru said that several orders were passed on December 19 by SDMs of the different areas of the district, issuing notices to farmers, including women, calling them to furnish personal bonds of ₹50,000 to ₹10 lakh and two sureties in the like amount on apprehension that he or she would violate the law and order in the light of the ensuing farmers protest in the district.

The court, in an order dated January 25, asked the administration under what circumstances farmers were asked to furnish such “exorbitant” amount of personal bond and two sureties. The matter would be heard on February 2.

‘Financial hardship’

In the petition, Ms. Dhuru said the bond notices would be executed for a term of six months. This curbed their right to move freely and caused them financial hardship, besides violating their right to protest peacefully.

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that notices were not only baseless but also took away the fundamental rights of a person, as farmers were not allowed to come out of their houses.

Counsel also argued that the exorbitant amount cannot be sought from poor farmers and that too merely on the basis of reports of the local police personnel without providing any opportunity of hearing to such farmers.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 9:48:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/exorbitant-bond-notices-to-farmers-allahabad-hc-issues-notice/article33675222.ece

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