Supreme Court won’t disallow any farmers’ rally on Republic Day

It tells farmers to ensure that citizens of Delhi are assured ‘complete peace’.

January 20, 2021 05:32 pm | Updated November 28, 2021 02:05 pm IST

Farmers during the ongoing protest against the Centre’s new farm laws at Ghazipur on Tuesday.

Farmers during the ongoing protest against the Centre’s new farm laws at Ghazipur on Tuesday.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde on Wednesday told the government that it was both “improper and irregular” for the Supreme Court to disallow any rally by protesting farmers on Republic Day.

“It is irregular and improper for this court to disable any rally. It is for the police to decide. We will allow you to withdraw. You are the executive of the country. You decide,” Chief Justice Bobde, heading a three-judge Bench, addressed Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the government.

 

The CJI’s remarks was in response to a submission by Mr. Mehta to adjourn the hearing on a government plea to bar farmers from holding rallies to “disrupt” Republic Day celebration.

Mr. Mehta submitted, “Consider hearing it on January 25... Let us see how the situation develops”.

But the CJI allowed the government to withdraw its plea. “You [government] decide what has to be done,” he said.

The court said farmers should ensure that the citizens of Delhi were assured of “complete peace” on January 26.

‘Embrace peace’

The CJI called upon advocate Prashant Bhushan to advise his clients, several farmers’ unions who have resolved not to come before the expert committee, to embrace peace.

“We want a resolution of the dispute,” he told Mr. Bhushan.

 

Mr. Bhushan responded, “Everybody wants it. But they are convinced that these laws need to be repealed. The laws were passed without prior notice or consultation. They were not placed for consideration before any parliamentary committees. There was even no voting in the Rajya Sabha on them”.

Chief Justice Bobde told Mr. Bhushan, “In a democracy, other than repeal, a way of striking down a law is through the court. The court is now seized of the issue”.

Mr. Bhushan replied, “Protest is a way of putting pressure on government. If it stops, pressure wanes... Suppose My Lords come to a conclusion the laws are constitutional...”

There had been a call for peace among the protesting farmers’ unions on Republic Day, he said.

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