‘How can highways be perpetually blocked?’: SC on farmers’ stir

Court allows Centre to file an application to make farmer unions party to a plea seeking removal of the blockade at Delhi-UP border

Farmers blocking roads in protest against the farm laws | File Photo

How can highways be blocked perpetually, the Supreme Court asked on Thursday while referring to road blockades by farmers protesting at Delhi’s borders against the Centre’s contentious farm laws.
The court allowed the Centre to file a formal application to make farmer unions party to a plea seeking removal of the blockade at Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border at UP Gate.

“The redressal of problems can be through judicial forum, agitation or through parliamentary debates. But how can the highways be blocked and this is happening perpetually. Where does this end?” a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh said.

A Noida resident, Monicca Agrawaal, has sought removal of the blockade saying that earlier it took 20 minutes to reach Delhi and now it takes over two hours, and people of the area are facing hardships due to the protests at the UP Gate on Delhi border.
At the outset, the bench asked Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj what the government is doing in the matter.

Also read: Understanding the new farm laws and farmer protests in India

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Nataraj said they had convened a meeting with the protesting farmers and details have been mentioned in the affidavit.

The bench said, “We may lay down a law but how to implement the law is your business. The court cannot implement it. It is the executive who has to implement it.”

“When we lay down the law, you will say it is encroachment and we trespassed into the domain of the executive. This has ramifications but there are also grievances which need to be addressed. This cannot be a perpetual problem.”

Also read: Bharat Bandh: Farmers block rail, road traffic in North India, Delhi chokes

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said a three-member committee was formed to address the grievances but farmers’ representatives refused to join the discussions.

Mehta said the court should allow the petitioner to make the farmers’ union party to the petition, so that later they don’t say that they were not made parties in the matter.

The bench told Mehta he has to move an application for making farmers’ representative party as the petitioner, as a private individual may not know who the leaders are.

“If you feel that someone is to be made party, you will have to make a request. You move a formal application giving details about the steps taken to resolve their grievances and how the impleadment of representatives of farmers will help in the resolution of the dispute,” the bench said, while listing the plea for hearing on October 4.

Mr Mehta said that they will file the application by Friday.

On August 23, the Supreme Court had said that the Centre and Delhi’s neighbouring states should find a solution to road blockades on the national capital’s borders due to farmers’ protest.

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