Delhi Police must decide on farmers' R-Day tractor march: SC
The Supreme Court on Monday said that Delhi Police should decide whether protesting farmers must be allowed to enter the national capital on Republic Day with hundreds of tractors or not, as it adjourned the matter for Wednesday, January 20. A bench, led by Chief Justice SA Bobde, remarked that Delhi Police, which comes under Union Home Ministry, is the 'first authority' in this case.
The top court took up a plea filed by the Centre, through Delhi Police, against the rally wherein 1,000 tractors will participate. It was argued that the rally will embarrass the nation. Notably, farmers plan to cover key areas of Delhi to raise their objection against three farm laws. The protesters have told they won't settle for anything less than a repeal of reforms.
During the hearing, CJI Bobde told Attorney General KK Venugopal that the question of farmers' entry falls under the jurisdiction of law and order, hence, Delhi Police must take a call on it. "You are at liberty to invoke all powers under the law," he added. The bench added that Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has also been told the same.
"We have told the AG and SG before that whether who should allow and who should not be allowed and the number of people who can enter are all matters of law and order to be dealt with by the police," CJI Bobde added.
It should be recalled that last week the top court took a dim view of Centre's handling of the agitation, saying that the latter failed to end the impasse. The CJI-led bench stayed the implementation of the laws and also formed a committee, hoping that a solution is unearthed soon. Farmers welcomed the stay but slammed the committee, calling it "pro-government."
During one of the hearings last week, when eminent lawyer Harish Salve suggested that the top court must pass an order to call off the protest if a stay is announced, the bench refused. "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.
To note, before the SC hearing, farmers declared they would not call off the march and also said police must not hamper their agitation. Yogendra Yadav from the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha revealed tractors will ply on Outer Ring Road. He assured the agitation will be peaceful and Republic Day's parade in Rajpath won't be disrupted. Each tractor will bear the tricolor, he added.