Issues related to farmers’ protest serious, don’t file petitions for publicity: Supreme Court : The Tribune India

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Issues related to farmers’ protest serious, don’t file petitions for publicity: Supreme Court

Top court refuses to entertain PIL on farmers' protest

Issues related to farmers’ protest serious, don’t file petitions for publicity: Supreme Court

Farmers during the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march at the Shambu border in Patiala district. Tribune file



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, March 4

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a PIL seeking directions to “relevant authorities to take immediate action against those allegedly defaming farmers and Sikhs and hurling abuses, derogatory terms and threats, and showing dissension disrupting the communal harmony in the country.” 

A Bench led by Justice Surya Kant said such petitions should not be filed only for publicity purposes and allowed the petitioner to withdraw it.

Terming the issues related to farmers’ protest are “serious”, it asked the petitioner to desist from filing petitions based only on newspaper reports for publicity.

“Do not file such petitions for publicity only, based on newspaper reports. The High Court is already seized of it and has given directions. Be careful. We are not taking a stand qua anything. Do your own research also, these are complex issues,” the Bench said, allowing the petitioner to withdraw the PIL with liberty to seek remedies permissible under law.

Alleging violation of farmers’ rights by Centre, four states, the PIL also demands “adequate compensation to victim farmers and their families.”

It had also sought directions to the Centre and states for free movement of protesting farmers across Delhi borders.

Amid the ongoing farmers’ protest demanding a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) for their crops, the PIL had alleged violation of the rights of the “peacefully protesting” farmers by the Centre and four states.

“The petitioner is seeking a writ of mandamus in the interest of the farmers who are facing unfair treatment in their peaceful protests,” the petition filed by Agnostos Theos, Managing Director of the Sikh Chamber of Commerce, had submitted.

The PIL wanted the top court to direct the government to consider “reasonable demands” of farmers, “ensure fair and respectful treatment to them, stop alleged violence against farmers, withdraw FIRs against them, unblock their social media accounts, remove barricades and take legal action against officials indulging in illegal acts.

It had also demanded “adequate compensation to victim farmers and their families.”

The Centre and some states have issued “threats” and fortified the national capital’s borders, after several farmers’ unions called protests seeking legal guarantee for MSP and implementation of the Swaminathan committee’s recommendations, the PIL alleged.

“The peaceful farmers have been subject to conditions similar to terrorists by their own government, simply for the exercise of their democratic and constitutional rights,” it said, seeking directions to the Centre and states to ensure “fair and respectful treatment of the protesting farmers”, besides allowing free movement.

The petitioner accused the governments of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh of employing “aggressive and violent measures”, such as using tear gas, rubber bullets and pellets against farmers, causing them serious injuries.

The PIL sought a direction to the Centre, the four states and the National Human Rights Commission to “consider the reasonable demands of farmers…who are in continuous peaceful protest, demonstration and agitation”.

The plea sought a report about alleged human rights violations by police, besides adequate compensation for the victim farmers and their families.

Some of the protestors were forcibly arrested, detained by state governments, and the Centre has unduly invoked prohibitory measures, including blocking social media accounts, rerouting traffic and blocking roads, it submitted.

In the absence of medical aid, the injuries were aggravated and caused deaths and fortifications at Delhi’s borders created a “hostile and violent situation” as it did not allow farmers to exercise their democratic right to protest.

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