“You have strangulated the entire city and now you want to come within the city and start protest again here,” the Supreme Court on Friday told a farmers’ body protesting against the three farm laws and seeking directions to authorities to allow it to stage satyagrah at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.
A bench of justices A M Khanwilkar and C T Ravikumar told the counsel appearing for petitioners ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’, a body of farmers and agriculturists, and its president that once they have approached the court against the three farm laws, they should have trust in the judicial system and let the matter be decided.
The apex court said citizens have equal rights to move freely and without fear and their properties are being damaged in the protest.
The court said, “There has to be some balanced approach.”
However, the Kisan Mahapanchayat’s counsel Ajay Choudhary told the judges that it was not part of the group of protesters who have blocked roads and highways, reports LiveLaw. Choudhary also said that it was the police and not the farmers who blocked the roads. The court asked the farmers’ body to file an affidavit stating the same.
The bench, which posted the matter for hearing on 4 October, asked the petitioners to file an affidavit declaring that they are not part of the protest, which is being carried out and blocking the national highways at the borders of the city.
As per News18, farm leader Rakesh Tikat reacting to the court's observations said that farmers have not blocked any highway. "If the government removes the barricades, we will go to Delhi."
On Thursday, the Supreme Court too had raised objections to highways being blocked by the protesting farmers and said, "How can highways be blocked perpetually?".
Several farmer organisations are protesting against the passage of three laws — The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.
Initially, the protests started from Punjab in November last year and later spread mainly to Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.
With inputs from PTI