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Farmers have right to protest but can’t block roads indefinitely tells SC

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The Supreme Court bench of Justices S K Kaul and C T Ravikumar told the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmers union, on Thursday that the farmers have the right to protest but cannot block the roads indefinitely.

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SKM responded saying the road management can done be better by the police and if police can’t manage then allow the farmers to protest at Ram lila ground or Jantar Mantar in the national capital.

During the hearing, SG Tushar Mehta cited Republic Day violence and said the incident took place despite the farmers unions giving an undertaking that there will be no violence during tractor rally on January 26.

The Supreme Court has asked SKM and other farmer unions to file their response in four weeks to the petition seeking removal of protesting farmers from roads.

The apex court will now hear the matter on December 7.

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Earlier this month, the SC had questioned the rationale behind farmers continuing their protests, including blocking of national highways, when none of the three contentious agricultural laws are in force as all have been kept in abeyance for 18 months in January by the court after an assurance from the government to that effect.

On September 30, another bench of the SC headed by Justice Sanjay Kaul had cited its own ruling that barred protesters from blocking public roads and said farmers’ grievances could be addressed either by Parliament or judiciary but they cannot be seen to cause harassment to commuters through sit-in dharnas on highways hindering traffic to and from Delhi to neighbouring Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

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