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Sealing of Haryana-Punjab border faces legal scrutiny

Plea challenging ‘obstructive actions’ to come up for hearing today

Sealing of Haryana-Punjab border faces legal scrutiny


Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12

The “unlawful sealing” of the border between Haryana and Punjab, particularly at Shambhu near Ambala, to “prevent the farmers from exercising their constitutional right to assemble and protest peacefully”, has come under judicial scanner.

A city-based advocate, Uday Pratap Singh, today moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court for issuance of urgent interim order to stay all “obstructive actions” of the governments of Punjab, Haryana and the Union of India against the farmers’ “peaceful” protests. The petition filed in public interest will come up for hearing before the Bench of Acting Chief Justice GS Sandhawalia and Justice Lapita Banerji tomorrow.

Among other things, the petitioner submitted that the action of the Haryana authorities, including the suspension of mobile Internet services and bulk SMSes in several districts, including Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa, had further exacerbated the situation, depriving the citizens of their right to information and communication.

The petitioner added that the road blockade not only caused inconvenience to residents, but also hampered the movement of pedestrians, ambulances, school buses, and other vehicles. The obstruction had also resulted in increased traffic on alternative routes, causing delay and difficulties to the commuters, including professionals such as advocates, doctors and those involved in emergency services.

The actions, coupled with unwarranted use of force and intimidation tactics by the police, not only infringed upon the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (A) and 21 of the Constitution, but also undermined the principles of democracy and the rule of law.

In a country guided by the rule of law, actions taken by the law enforcement authorities should be consistent with legal standards. Implementing obstacles, such as layers of nails, concrete walls, electrification and barbed wire fences, risk undermining the foundations of a democratic society governed by the rule of law, where respect for human rights should prevail, the petitioner stated.

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