Plea in SC seeks direction to Centre to consider farmers’ demands, allow gathering in capital

The plea claimed that some of the protestors were forcibly arrested, detained by various state governments, and the Centre has unduly invoked prohibitory measures, including blocking social media accounts, rerouting traffic and blocking roads.
Last Updated 23 February 2024, 14:46 IST

New Delhi: A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court for a direction to the Centre to consider the reasonable demands of the farmers and remove all barricading in their peaceful march and gathering in the national capital.

It also sought a direction to unblock social media accounts and respect the right to free speech of the people sharing information about the farmers' protest.

Agnostos Theos, managing director of the Sikh Chamber of Commerce, claimed restricting the farmers from entering the national capital without any due reasonable cause violated their right to travel freely throughout the territory of the country as enshrined under Article 19(1)(d) of the Constitution.

The plea named the Union government, the Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Delhi governments, and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), as parties.

The plea claimed that the state governments have employed aggressive and violent measures like use of tear gas, rubber pellets, expired shells etc. against peacefully protesting farmers, leading to serious and grievous injuries among the protestors.

The plea claimed, "The actions taken by the state governments by creating fortification across the borders of the national capital, creating hostile and violent situations against its own peaceful citizens and not allowing the farmers to exercise their democratic right, has led to direct and indirect defamation of the intentions and the objective of the protesting farmers."

It alleged that the peaceful farmers have been subject to conditions similar to terrorists by their own government, simply for the exercise of their democratic and constitutional rights.

The plea alleged the violation of the rights of the farmers protesting for their demands, enshrined under Article 14, Article 19 and Article 21 of the Constitution.

The farmers peacefully protested for their demand for the implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission as per their call for the protest for ‘Dilli Chalo’ on February 13, it said.

"The Union and State governments, in anticipation of the protest by the farmer, issued threats against the people in participating in the protest, fortified the borders of the state around the city of Delhi, with iron spikes, concrete walls, etc. ensuring that farmers are not able to enter territory of the national capital," it said.

The plea said that the farmers who were coming to protest for their rights, even using their own private vehicles from the state bordering Delhi, were forcefully arrested and detained by the respondent governments. "Similarly, farmers coming from various other states of the county, to join the protesting farmers, were detained in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, and were also sent to other states, just to avoid them meeting with protesting farmers," it said.

(Published 23 February 2024, 14:46 IST)

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