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'Farmers have right to protest but can't block a city,' says Supreme Court

Farmers' protest: The independent committee can have P Sainath, Bhartiya Kisan Union and others as members. You cannot instigate violence and cannot block a city like this, said CJI Bobde

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | December 17, 2020 | Updated 15:41 IST
'Farmers have right to protest but can't block a city,' says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Thursday said that farmers protesting the new farm laws cannot block a city. "A protest is constitutional till it does not destroy property or endanger life. The Centre and farmers have to talk; we are thinking of an impartial and independent committee before whom both parties can give its side of story to resolve impasse on farm laws," said Chief Justice of India SA Bobde who was hearing a petition seeking to remove the protesting farmers from Delhi border areas. The petitioner is a law student who has cited inconvenience at border areas of the national capital as well as the threat of coronavirus to remove the farmers.

"The independent committee can have P Sainath, Bhartiya Kisan Union and others as members. You cannot instigate violence and cannot block a city like this," said CJI Bobde.

The Chief Justice said that the committee will give a finding that should be followed and the protest can carry on meanwhile.

Attorney General KK Venugopal said that the farmers violated coronavirus guidelines that could lead to the spread of infection in their villages. Venugopal said that none of them are wearing face masks and sit 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.

Thousands of farmers have been staging a sit-in protest at various borders of Delhi since November 26. The farmers are demanding a complete rollback of the new farm laws as well as a guarantee that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system will be retained.

Looking to resolve the impasse between the farmers and the government, the Supreme Court had said that they are planning to form a committee with representatives of both the government and the farmer unions to resolve the issue.

Also read: Farmers protest resulting in losses of Rs 3,500 crore everyday: ASSOCHAM

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