You've strangulated the city: SC on farmer group's plea

You strangulated the city, now want to come inside: SC on Kisan Mahapanchayat's plea to stage 'Satyagraha' at Jantar Mantar

The bench said although the petitioners had a right to protest, one 'cannot destroy property'

The Supreme Court of India. Credit: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court on Friday took an exception to a plea filed by 'Kisan Mahapanchayat' for permission to hold 'Satyagrah' at Jantar Mantar here, by saying "you have already strangulated the city, blocked the highways and roads and now want to come inside".

"Once you have approached courts challenging the laws, what is the point of continuing the protests? If you have faith in courts, pursue that for urgent hearing instead of protesting," a bench presided over by Justice A M Khanwilkar told the petitioner's counsel.

As petitioner's counsel sought to argue on the petition for permission to hold "peaceful, unarmed and non-violent" 'Satyagrah', the bench said, "You cannot come to the court and continue protesting at the same time. Are you protesting against the judicial system?"

The bench, also comprising Justice C T Ravikumar, said although the petitioners had a right to protest, "but you cannot destroy property. You are also heckling the security person. This business has to stop."

Advocate Ajay Choudhary, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that blocking the highways not part of the protest. He also maintained that it was the police who had blocked the highways not the farmers.

On this, the bench asked the petitioner to file an affidavit in this regard and put the matter for consideration on October 4.

The court also allowed the petitioner to serve the copy of the petition on the office of the Attorney General.

Notably, acting on a batch of petitions, including by some farmers leaders, a separate bench of the top court had on January 12 stayed implementation of three farm laws.

The court had then constituted a committee to report on these laws. The panel had already submitted its report on March 19 after consulting a large number of farmers and several stakeholders.

However, the farmers groups, which started their protests against the three laws since November 26, 2020, continued to stage their sit-ins at the borders of the national capital.

On September 30, a bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, acting on a plea by Noida resident, questioned the Union government on steps taken to remove the road blockade by the farmers, while voicing its concern that the roads can't remain occupied perpetually.

In its October 7, 2020 judgement with regard to Shaheen Bagh sit-in against the Citizenship Amendment Act, the top court had then declared that public roads and spaces can't be occupied indefinitely for protests, causing inconvenience to the people, and the demonstrations must be organised at designated places only.

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