The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a notice to Centre on a batch of pleas that sought the immediate removal of farmers who are protesting against the three farm acts at the Delhi Borders.
The three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde also allowed the impleadment of farmers' organisations and posted the matter for further hearing on Thursday. The SC took this matter up for urgent hearing since court breaks for winter on Friday.
Observing that the farmers' protests "will soon become a national issue" and it seemed as though negotiations with the Centre was not working out, the bench said it would form a committee comprising the Bharatiya Kisan Union, the Centre and other farmers' organisation to resolve the dispute.
States like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Punjab have also been impleaded.
Farmers are protesting at the Delhi borders since the past three weeks against the recently enacted Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Negotiations between the farmers' unions and the government have stalled as union leaders clarified that it would not settle for anything less than the repeal of the contentions farm acts.
Protests at the border risk spread of Covid: Petitioner to SC
During the hearing, the advocate representing law student Rishabh Sharma—one of the petitioners—argued that it was necessary to clear the farmers who had gathered at the borders because it was disrupting emergency and other medical services from in Delhi where there is a rapid rise of Covid-19 cases.
Sharma's counsel relied on the Supreme Court's October 2020 verdict in Amit Saini that said "public places cannot be indefinitely occupied for protests…", given on a batch of pleas which highlighted difficulties faced by residents during the blockade by the Shaheen Bagh protestors.
However, the three-judge bench, which also comprised Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, rejected the counsel's contention and observed that judgments given on law and order situations cannot be used as precedent in other cases.
The plea's further contended that lakhs of people protesting at the borders was a threat because "Coronavirus is very contagious and if by chance this coronavirus disease takes the shape of community spread, it will cause a havoc in the country." The plea sought the relocation of the protestors at one designated spot and the implementation of social distancing and protocol of wearing masks.
"Though the Police has allotted a dedicated place for the protestors to protest peacefully but the protestors are not shifting/moving to the allotted place and in order to create trouble for the commuters they have blocked the borders. Furthermore, owing to their large number of protestors, the police is not able to control such a large gathering," the petition said.
Updated On: 2020-12-16T15:57:43+05:30