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Submit affidavits on Shambhu border highway blockade, High Court directs Punjab and Haryana

Direction came a Division Bench of High Court took note of inconvenience caused to commuters

Submit affidavits on Shambhu border highway blockade, High Court directs Punjab and Haryana

The Bench of Acting Chief Gurmeet Singh Sandhawalia and Justice Lapita Banerji made it clear that the affidavits must provide comprehensive details on the timeline of the highway closures, specifying when the blockades began and how long was it expected to continue. Reuters file



Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik  

Chandigarh, May 29

More than three months after the ‘unlawful sealing of the border between Haryana and Punjab’ to prevent farmers from ‘protesting peacefully’ came under the judicial scanner, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed both States to submit detailed affidavits on the ongoing blockade of the highways at the Shambhu border.

Among other things, the States have been asked to specify how long the position would continue. The direction came as a Division Bench of the high court took note of the inconvenience caused to the commuters.

The Bench of Acting Chief Gurmeet Singh Sandhawalia and Justice Lapita Banerji made it clear that the affidavits must provide comprehensive details on the timeline of the highway closures, specifying when the blockades began and how long was it expected to continue. The order came amid increasing concerns about the disruption of traffic and the subsequent impact on daily commuters and transportation.

The Bench observed: “It is pointed out that the highways/national highways at the Shambhu border continue to be blocked, which is causing inconvenience to the commuters. Accordingly, both the States of Punjab and Haryana shall submit their affidavits regarding this aspect, by the next date of hearing, giving the details as to when it was closed and for how long the said position would continue”.

The Bench was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by city-based advocate Uday Pratap Singh and other petitioners. In his petition, Uday Pratap Singh was seeking the 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.

He added the road blockade not only caused inconvenience to the residents, but also hampered the movement of pedestrians, ambulances, school buses, and other vehicles. 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 of India, but also undermined the principles of democracy and the rule of law.

The three-member committee constituted by high court under Justice Jaishree Thakur after farmer Subh Karan lost his life during the ongoing protests has concluded in its interim report that the place of occurrence was within the jurisdiction of Haryana “and nowhere else”.

The report came just over a month after the high court asserted the death probe could not be entrusted solely either to Punjab or Haryana “as both the States have several things to cover up”. The Bench was of the opinion that the place of occurrence and the death had to be confirmed as one State was shirking its responsibilities, while the other was yearning to get its hands on the investigation.

The Bench also directed Punjab to submit the record regarding postmortem, along with pellets collected from the body, to Central Forensic Laboratory at Chandigarh “so that opinion can come by the next date of hearing from the laboratory regarding the type of weapon and the bullet/pellets which it emanated”. 

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