SC asks if farm laws implementation can be put on hold till it hears matter, Centre objects
New Delhi, December 17, 2020
The Supreme Court on Thursday, during hearing of pleas seeking the removal of farmers blocking various points on Delhi's borders, queried Attorney General (AG) K. K. Venugopal about whether the Centre could put on hold the implementation of the recently enacted farm laws till the matter is heard by the court.
The top court also emphasised that, until a solution is found to end the ongoing impasse, the police should not incite the protesters to indulge in violence.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde queried the AG, "could you assure the court that you will not implement the law till we hear it." However, the top court clarified that it is not of the opinion to stay the legislation, instead it is exploring possibilities to enable Centre and farmer union to engage in fruitful negotiations.
The bench, saying that it cannot pass orders without hearing the protesting farmers' unions, asked the AG, would there be an assurance in the meantime that there will no executive action?
AG replied, what kind of executive action? And farmers will not come for discussion if this happens. The Chief Justice reiterated that it is to enable the discussion. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta also objected to this suggestion of the top court
The Attorney General added that the farmers are adamant, and they don't want to discuss anything until all three laws are repealed. The Chief Justice replied that they will say you are adamant and that is why the top court wants a discussion.
The bench also added that the police should not use any violent methods against the farmers protesting at various Delhi border. "We recognise the right to protest against the law, no question of balancing or curtailing it. We need to see it does not effect anybody's life," said the Chief Justice.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for a petitioner against farmers blockade at borders, submitted nobody can hold a city to ransom.
The bench said it acknowledges that farmers have the right to protest and the court will not interfere with their right to protest, but it will certainly look into the manner of protest.
The bench emphasised that no conclusion could be arrived at if farmers government do not talk to each other. The bench told Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, "we are thinking of an independent committee to and hear both sides."
Meanwhile, the bench emphasised the Centre should ensure that the police should not instigate any violence.
The bench, emphasising that it cannot curtail the right to protest, said the court recognises farmers' right to protest against a law but it is making it clear that this right must not infringe the fundamental right of other citizens, which may include free movement, getting essential food supplies etc.
The bench concluded the hearing without passing any orders and gave the liberty to the parties to move before the vacation bench.