Farmers protest: Supreme Court says highways can't be blocked perpetually
The Supreme Court on Thursday reiterated its objection to highways being blocked as part of protests while hearing arguments against the farmers' months-long agitation along Delhi's borders. The SC's observations came days after farmers protesting against three agricultural laws called for a "Bharat Bandh" or general strike, leading to traffic snarls on the Delhi-Haryana border. Here are more details.
Redressal can be through Parliamentary means, court: SC
During the hearing, the bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul remarked that "highways cannot be blocked perpetually." The SC maintained issues should rather be resolved through a judicial forum or Parliamentary debates. "Redressal can be through judicial forum agitation or Parliamentary debates, but how can highways be blocked? And this cannot be a perpetual problem," Justice Kaul remarked.
SC pulls up central, state governments
The SC also pulled up the Centre and state governments of Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. It said that the court's job is to lay down the law, but the government is responsible for implementing it. "If we pass any directions, then you'll say we trespassed into the executive domain...The law is your business...The Court has no means to implement it."
Protesting groups refusing to hold talks: Centre
During Thursday's hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that a high-level committee was formed to hold talks, but the protesting organizations have refused to participate. Mehta urged the SC to implead the protesting organizations as a respondent in the matter. The court then directed the SG to file an application to that effect. The SC has slated the matter for further hearing on Monday.
What did the other states say?
Separately, Haryana filed an affidavit saying that it is making "sincere efforts" to persuade the farmers to end their blockade. In its response, the UP government said that it is in the process of requesting the protesters to clear the area for smoother traffic movement.
What does the petition seek?
The petitioner, Monica Agarwal, argued that despite various directions by the SC to keep public roads clear, nothing has been done in this regard. She also alleged that, as a single mother with medical issues, it has become a nightmare to travel to Delhi from Noida as it now takes two hours instead of 20 minutes due to the farmers' protests.
Public roads cannot be blocked over protests: SC's 2020 order
Notably, in a case related to the Shaheen Bagh protests last year, the SC had ruled that public roads cannot be blocked in the name of protests. Protests should be held only at designated places, the SC had ordered.
Farmers have been protesting for 10 months on Delhi's borders
It has been 10 months since vexed farmers have been protesting against three contentious farm laws at the borders of Delhi, including the Delhi-Haryana Singhu border. The farmers are mainly demanding the repeal of the farm laws, which they think will take away the minimum support price for their crops. Despite several rounds of talks between the Centre and farmer leaders, resolution remains far-fetched.