Farmers’ Protest Can Go On As Long As It Doesn’t Endanger Life, Property: Supreme Court On Thursday

The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the ongoing farners’ protest can continue till it does not destroy property or endanger life. Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, who on Wednesday said that the matter must be handed over to a committee, told that the panel must have “independent members with knowledge of agriculture and hear both sides and give a report on what needs to be done”. “Centre and farmers have to talk. We are thinking of an impartial and independent committee before whom both parties can give its side of the story,” CJI Bobde said. “The committee will give a finding, which should be followed. The protest can go on in the meanwhile,” the CJI added. He also suggested that the independent committee can have P Sainath, Bhartiya Kisan Union and others as members. CJI Bobde asked, “We are not deciding on the validity of the laws today. We are restricting today on the protests going on and the fundamental right of an Indian citizen to protest. The issue of validity of the farm laws will have to wait. Who is addressing us on the issue of the ongoing protests?” The CJI said the SC bench will hear Harish Salve, advocate OP Parihar on behalf of the petitioners on the issue of the validity of the ongoing agitation. While hearing a series of petitions relating to the three farm laws and farmers’ protests, CJI Bobde said that the national capital cannot be blocked. “You (farmers) cannot instigate violence and cannot block a city like this,” the CJI added. “Blocking Delhi may lead to people in the city going hungry. Your (farmers) purpose can be fulfilled by talking. Just sitting in protest won’t help,” he added during a hearing on farm laws. “We are also Indian, we’re familiar with the plight of farmers and are sympathetic to their cause. You (farmers) have to only alter the way the protest is going. We will ensure you can plead your case and thus we are thinking of forming a committee,” says the CJI. CJI Bobde said the farmers have the right to protest. “We won’t interfere with it but the manner of protest is something we will look into. We will ask Centre what is the manner of protest going on, to slightly alter it so that it doesn’t affect the citizens’ right of movement,” he said. “We recognize the fundamental right to protest against the laws and no question to curtail it. The only thing we can look into is that it should not cause damage to someone’s life,” he added. Meanwhile, Attorney General KK Venugopal said that none of the protestors wear a face mask while sitting together in large numbers. “Covid-19 is a concern, they will visit villages and spread it there. Farmers cannot violate the fundamental rights of others,” he said.

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