You are choking Delhi, Supreme Court tells farmers

The Mahapanchayat’s counsel said the police had blocked the highways and not the farmers. File.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court on Friday accused farmers of “strangulating the city [New Delhi]” with their protest against farm laws.

A Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar was hearing a petition filed by Kisan Mahapanchayat, a farmers’ body, for a direction to the Delhi Police to permit them to go on ‘satyagraha’ at the iconic Jantar Mantar in the heart of the national capital.

“On one hand, you have been strangulating the entire city and blocking highways... now you want to enter the city and protest here?” Justice Khanwilkar lashed out at the farmers’ body.

The Bench asked why the farmers’ organisations continued with protests even after the laws were under challenge or sub judice in the Supreme Court.

“Are you then protesting against the judiciary? Once you have approached the court, let the law take its own course... But, instead, you continue with the protests and block the national highways... You have to trust us,” Justice Khanwilkar, flanked by Justice C.T. Ravikumar, chided the farmers’ organisation.

Justice Khanwilkar asked the farmers whether they had taken the permission of citizens who live near the protest sites on the national highways and public roads.

“Have you taken permission of the citizens living nearby? There is a right to protest, but there is a right to use public roads and free movement... You are even obstructing defence personnel’s movement. You block trains and then say you are protesting peacefully. There is no point in continuing to protest once you have come to the court,” Justice Khanwilkar said.

The Mahapanchayat’s counsel, advocate Ajay Choudhary, said the police had blocked the highways and not the farmers. The farmers only stressed on their right to protest peacefully.

The Bench directed the petitioner to serve an advance copy of their petition on the Attorney-General and listed the case for Monday.

The court also ordered the organisation to file an affidavit “declaring they are not part of the protest being carried out, blocking the highways”.

Kisan Mahapanchayat has argued that the “patently discriminatory, arbitrary and unreasonable action” of the Delhi Police in preventing it from holding peaceful, unarmed and non-violent Satyagraha at a designated place in Jantar Mantar is in violation of basic democratic rights enunciated as fundamental rights under the Constitution.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 5:06:25 PM |

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