Centre wants SC to stop farmers' tractor rally on R-Day
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre has appealed to the Supreme Court to stop the tractor rally of farmers, planned for Republic Day, saying the proposed march will trigger a massive law and order problem. In the plea filed through Delhi Police, the union government spoke about the "august celebrations of the nation," adding that a protest of such kind will embarrass the country.
Background: Farmers building pressure on government to repeal three laws
To coerce the government to roll back three contentious farm laws, farmers have been sitting at Delhi's borders for over a month now. Since talks have failed so far, they planned a massive rally on Republic Day, wherein nearly 20,000 tractors will participate. In fact, they also organized a "trailer" rally on January 7, which was dubbed as successful by farm leaders.
Tanks will be on one side, tractors on another
"We will participate in the parade on January 26. The tanks will be on one side and the tractors on the other. People will come to Delhi on that day to take part in the parade," Bharatiya Kisan Union's Rakesh Tikat said on January 7.
March will disturb and disrupt celebrations, argued the government
As farmers indicated they won't change their plans regarding the tractor rally, the Centre approached SC, telling it that security agencies have learned about a march. "It is submitted that the proposed march is slated to disturb and disrupt the august celebrations of the nation on Republic Day and would be bound to create a massive law and order situation," the plea read.
Centre spoke about functions before and after R-Day
Citing January 23's rehearsal, January 28's National Cadet Corps rally, January 29's Beating Retreat, and January 30's Martyrs' Day, Centre added that the Republic Day event is not a "standalone ceremony." "Any disruption or obstruction in the said functions would not only be against law and order, public order, public interest but would also be a huge embarrassment for the nation," it added.
Right to protest doesn't mean one can malign nation: Centre
The BJP government also underlined that right to protest is "subjective" and it can never translate to "maligning the nation globally." It also submitted that the reforms were introduced after many deliberations, adding that farmers of the nation are "happy." The government is also engaging with farmers with an open mind to allay any fears that they might have, SC was informed.
Giving earful to Centre, SC said it 'could stay laws'
However, SC came down heavily on Centre yesterday, asking why it was inclined to enforce the laws. A bench led by Chief Justice SA Bobde hinted it would put a stay on the implementation of laws if the Centre doesn't. When lawyer Harish Salve suggested that SC should also end the protest if it puts a stay, the court said it can't do it.
'We can't tell citizens not to protest'
"Mr. Salve, everything cannot be achieved with one order. Farmers will go before the committee. The court will not pass an order that citizens should not protest," CJI Bobde said. An order on the matter will be pronounced today.