Farmers have right to protest but can`t block roads indefinitely: Supreme Court

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday (October 21) said that the protesting farmers at Delhi borders cannot block the roads indefinitely. 

A bench headed by Justice S K Kaul said it was not against the right to protest, adding that some solution has to be found. 

“Farmers have right to protest but they cannot keep roads blocked indefinitely. You may have a right to agitate in any manner but roads should not be blocked like this. People have right to go on roads but it cannot be blocked,” PTI quoted the top court as saying. 

Further, listing the matter for hearing on December 7, the bench asked the farmer unions, who have been arrayed as parties in the case, to respond within three weeks on the issue. 

The PIL was filed by a Noida-resident Monicca Agarwal who complained of delays in daily commute caused due to the road blockade owing to the ongoing farmers’ protests.

Several farmers are protesting against the Centre’s three agriculture laws — The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020. The protests which commenced in Punjab reached Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh in November 2020. 

The talks between the government and unions of protesting farmers reached an impasse as the Centre is not ready to “scrap”  the farm laws. The last round of talks between the farmer unions and the central government was held on January 22.

Earlier in October, while listening to a plea by ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat‘, a body of farmers and agriculturists, seeking permission to hold satyagraha at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, the apex court had pulled up the body and said, “You have strangulated the entire city and now you want to come within the city and start protest again here.” The court had also stated that protesting farmers are obstructing traffic, blocking trains and national highways.

(With agency inputs)

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