The Supreme Court on Wednesday while observing that farmers issue “will soon become a national issue” said that it intends to set up a committee comprising representatives of farmers unions across India, government and other stakeholders to resolve the issues of protesting farmers.
A Bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Centre that it intends to form a committee “because this will soon become a national issue and with the government, it won’t work out it seems.”
The Bench also issued notice to Centre and State governments on a batch of pleas seeking a direction to authorities to immediately remove the farmers who are protesting at several border points of Delhi against three new farm laws.
The top court also granted permission to implead farmer organisations and posted the matter for hearing tomorrow.
During the hearing, the Bench told Solicitor General that government’s negotiation is not working and “it’s bound to fail again”. It asked Solicitor General to give names of some farmers organisation representatives to join them as parties in proceedings before it.
The Court’s statement came after Solicitor General said the government is in talks with farmers. BKU and some others are protesting at the site but some other elements have joined the protests, Mehta said without identifying them. “Government will do nothing which is against the interest of farmers,” Solicitor General told the apex court during the hearing.
At the outset of hearing advocate Omprakash Prihar, appearing for one of the petitioners Rishabh Sharma a law student, argued that his plea seeks direction to open borders in view of Shaheen Bagh judgement where the apex court had said that roads can’t be blocked.
He said during the protest in Shaheen Bagh there were 3-4 lakhs protestors, the same situation is now in farmers protest.
To this Chief Justice of India said, “there can’t be any precedent in law and order situation.”
The Bench noted that it needs to hear farmers in the case to decide to the issue.
The petition of Rishabh Sharma said that commuters are facing hardships due to the road blockades and the gatherings might lead to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.
He also sought directions to authorities to open the roads at Delhi’s borders, shift the protesters to the allotted place and provide guidelines on social distancing and use of masks at the protest site in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The petition has claimed that the Delhi Police had, on November 27, allowed the protesters to hold a demonstration peacefully at the Nirankari ground in Burari here, but despite that, they have blocked the borders of the national capital.
It stated, “Because of the ongoing protest at Delhi’s borders, the roads have been blocked by the protesters and the border points have been closed, which have affected vehicular traffic and people who are travelling to and from Delhi to get medical treatment in reputed government and private hospitals.”
The plea also referred to the October 7 order of the apex court, which was passed on a petition against the blockade of a road in the Shaheen Bagh area here by those protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, where it had said public spaces cannot be occupied indefinitely and demonstrations expressing dissent have to be staged at designated places alone.
Another petition filed by advocate GS Mani in support of farmers protest in Delhi borders and sought a direction that Central government to consider the demands of farmers, ensure basic amenities and no violation of any human and fundamental rights to fellow farmers.
It further sought a direction that NHRC to submit enquiry report over human right violation over police force assault and attack on farmers and thereafter direct the concerned government to provide adequate compensation to the victim and deceased farmers.
The farmers are protesting 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.