Not against right to protest but roads can't be blocked like this: SC on farmers' agitation

Asia's Tech News Daily

right to protest, supreme court, farmers protest, bjp, noida

The Supreme Court has reiterated concern over continued blocking of arterial roads leading to Delhi on account of farmers’ protest. The farmers blame the police for blocking roads to inconvenience the public and alienate public sympathy from their cause.

A different bench had earlier raised many eyebrows when it cast doubts on the right of farmers to protest as the SC had stayed the farm laws and the issue was pending adjudication. That bench was headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar.

Today, a bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul conceded the right of farmers to protest but questioned continued inconvenience to other citizens who had a right to move freely. A Noida resident had sought that court’s intervention to move the protesters elsewhere.

“We are not against the right to protest even when a legal challenge is pending. But roads cannot be blocked like this. Some solution has to be found,” said Justice Kaul. Senior advocate Dushyant Dave denied the charge that farmers were blocking the roads. He suggested that the farmers were not being allowed to protest in places such as Ram Lila Maidan, forcing them to sit alongside public roads.

“Roads have been blocked due to the way Delhi Police has made arrangements. It suits them to allow a feeling that farmers block the road. Let us go to Ram Lila Maidan,” Dave argued. He also pointed out that BJP has held protests at the Ram Lila Maidan.

The bench has allowed farmers’ unions more time to file their reply. The case will now be heard after six weeks. A slew of petitions has been filed in the SC – some challenging the validity of farm laws, some challenging the right of farmers to clog roads, others demanding their eviction.

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