- Recently, A Bench headed by CJI SA Bobde was hearing a batch of PILs seeking removal of farmers protesting at Delhi borders against the three Farmers.
- The court observed that the negotiations being held by the Government are not reaching any results.
- The Court, for now, has granted permission to implead all concerned farmer organizations and has issued a notice on the PILs.
- CJI directed the Solicitor General to cautiously form a Committee,which will be formed with members of all farmers organisations from the rest of India.
"To make agriculture sustainable, the grower has got to be able to make a profit." – Sam Farr
As we know that lakhs of Farmers from different parts of Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana are protesting on Tikri Border and Singhu Border for the last one month and above after Farm Bill was passed by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and was later assented by President on 27th September 2020. The farmers have raised different demands as the Bills may affect them in the future.
As soon as the Bills were passed in Parliament, Farmer Unions started holding protests in Punjab and approximately after two months these farmers collectively launched a movement called "Dilli Chalo" which is "Let’s Go Delhi!". Due to which they were trying to entering Delhi to protest, but were not allowed by the police officials to cross the border and that is the reason why so many farmers are gathered at the outskirts of Delhi waiting for the administration to take some actions in favour of them. As soon as Delhiites started facing issues due to the horde,in terms of Delayed Medical Services, Transportation, Movement etc. amid protest, petitions started falling at the gate of the judiciary to resolve the mob.
The Petitioners has sought immediate removal of protesting farmers from border areas of Delhi-NCR on the ground that they increase the risk of COVID-19 spread in Delhi. As it’s the matter of their lives and health too, while farmers are reacting valorously but negligently to the COVID guidelines.
A Petitionersubmitted that the verdict in Shaheen Bagh case already states that public places cannot be occupied indefinitely. He referred to paragraph 19 of the judgment which states as under:
"We have, thus, no hesitation in concluding that such kind of occupation of public ways, whether at the site in question or anywhere else for protests is not acceptable and the administration ought to take action to keep the areas clear of encroachments or obstructions."
Some petition also tried to compare the incumbent Farmer's protests with the Shaheen Bagh case and correspondingly some while addressing the problems faced on Delhi borders to the court filed a petition that there is no free movement and Ambulances cannot pass, which is the violation of Article 19(1)(a), (b) and (c).
The same petitioner even stated before Solicitor General that the only party before us who has blocked the road is Government. On which the SG however clarified before the bench that the authorities have not blocked the roads. He submitted that the Delhi Police has been deployed as the farmers are protesting.
A law student also highlighted the same point and stated that the protesters are "posing a hurdle for accessing emergency medical services".Ultimately, the Supreme Court has issued notices on a batch of petitions which challenge the constitutional validity of the said Acts.
Recently, Senior Advocate Harish Salve representing the state of Haryana before Apex Court also highlighted that the roads connecting Delhi to other states have been blocked and basic rights of inhabitants living in Delhi are infringed, but there seem no strong pieces of evidence to support the statement when objected by Adv Rahul Mehra appearing for Delhi.
Fascinatingly, the Bar Council of Delhi has also written to the Prime Minister seeking the repeal of the laws saying that provisions excluding the jurisdiction of civil courts over disputes under the acts can affect the legal profession.
IS COMMITTEE A PITY?
The CJI SA Bobdewhile heading the bench, remarked that the negotiations being done by the Government are not working and it is recommended that the talks will be successful only when both the sides are represented by such people who are actually willing to negotiate.
The CJI, therefore, asked the SG to come up with the name of such an organization that is willing to negotiate and he also asked SG to make sure that the authorities are willing to negotiate.
During the hearing, the Solicitor General also guaranteed the Court that the government will not do anything against the interest of farmers. He urged that farmers' organizations should sit with the government, so that there can be a discussion or debate with an open mind.
On 17th December too while listening to the representatives of States in Apex Court, CJI Bobde retold its suggestion to constitute a committee to facilitate talks between the protesting farmers and the Central Government to resolve the clashes over the recently agreed farm laws.
To facilitate discussions CJI Bobde also requested Centre to put a hold on the implementation of Farm Laws.On which the Attorney General, KK Venugopal replied that he will get back after taking instructions from the Central Government.
Although, it may take some time to set up a negotiating committee between Central Government and Farmers Unions, but that will actually help to build a better understanding between farmers and government, and will also ease out the things in a few days by adjusting the bill as per negotiations.
Ultimately, setting up a committee of impartial members between Central Government and Unions will not be the best solution for the current situation but government should try to frame the Bills in a better manner while keeping in mind the demands of protesting farmers as well as the Parliament.
Eventually, Bench made it clear that the court will not interfere with the protest. The court also made it clear that the protests are being held against three bills only. Indeed, the right to protest is part of a fundamental right and can be exercised subject to public order.
The bench also cleared that farmers' protest should be allowed to continue without impediment and any breach of peace either by the protesters or the police. CJI remarked that the question of the validity of laws can wait but the matter of concern today is regarding the farmers' protest and the fundamental right of citizens to move.
He added that farmers have a right to express and they can continue their protest in a non-violent manner. He further added that Attorney General cannot instigate violence too,but other fundamental rights and right to life of others must not be affected. Hence, the bench concluded that to bring about the effective solution of the current situation, a committee should be constituted comprising of independent and impartial persons such as experts in the field of Agriculture for the purpose.