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Opinion

‘Protest a constitutional right but …’: Supreme Court hears petition calling for expulsion of protesting farmers from Delhi borders

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The Supreme Court said Thursday that protesting farmers near Delhi cannot blockade a city. The remarks were made by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India (CJI) SA Bobde while listening to a petition seeking to remove protesting farmers from the Delhi border areas. The petitioner, a law student, has cited inconveniences in the border areas of the national capital and the threat of Covid-19 as reasons for requesting the expulsion of protesting farmers.

“A protest is constitutional until it destroys property or endangers life. The Center and the farmers have to speak; we are thinking of an impartial and independent committee before which both parties can give their version of events to resolve the impasse in the agricultural laws, ”the ANI news agency quoted the CJI as saying.

“The independent committee may have P Sainath, Bhartiya Kisan Union and others as members. You (the farmers) cannot instigate violence and you cannot block a city like this, ”said CJI Bobde.

He also said that the committee will give a result that must be followed and that the protest can continue in the meantime.

Attorney General KK Venugopal said farmers are violating Covid-19 guidelines, which could lead to the spread of the infection in their villages. “None of them wear a mask, they sit together in large numbers. Covid-19 is a concern, they will visit towns and spread it there. Farmers cannot violate the fundamental rights of others, ”Venugopal said.

The hearing continues in the case.

On Wednesday, the superior court had sent a notice to the Center and others. The court made up of CJI Bobde, judges AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian also indicated that the court can form a committee with representatives of the government and farmers’ unions from across the country to resolve the deadlock in the laws.

The Center has told the Supreme Court that it will do nothing against the interests of farmers.

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