HC declines urgent listing of Centre’s plea against farmers’ march on tractor-trolleys - Hindustan Times
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HC declines urgent listing of Centre’s plea against farmers’ march on tractor-trolleys

Feb 21, 2024 12:59 PM IST

“You’re playing politics. Why didn’t Punjab stop them (farmers from assembling)? Duties cast upon (different stakeholders) are not being fulfilled,” the bench remarked

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday declined a request from the central and Haryana governments for an urgent hearing against the farmers’ Delhi Chalo march on tractor-trolleys and other modified vehicles.

Farm protesters gathered at Shambhu in Patiala district on the Punjab-Haryana border on Wednesday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
Farm protesters gathered at Shambhu in Patiala district on the Punjab-Haryana border on Wednesday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

Additional solicitor general of India Satya Pal Jain and Haryana advocate general Baldev Raj Mahajan made a mention for urgent listing of their applications, seeking a restraint order against the march on modified vehicles and tractor-trolleys before the bench of acting chief justice GS Sandhawalia. However, it was not entertained by the bench that orally observed that it won’t allow courts to be dragged into such issues.

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Also read: Farmers’ protest: Barricades and tear gas vs bulldozers, earthmovers at Shambhu border

“You people are playing politics here. Why didn’t Punjab stop them (from assembling)? Duties cast upon (different stakeholders) are not being fulfilled,” the bench remarked, refusing to order an urgent listing.

While taking up two public interest litigations on Tuesday, the high court had cautioned protesting farmers camping at Shambhu on the Punjab-Haryana border and said that tractor-trolleys can’t be used on highways. “According to the Motor Vehicle Act, you can’t use tractor-trolleys on the highway. You are travelling from Amritsar to Delhi on trolleys,” the bench said. “If you want to go to Delhi, you may go by bus,” it observed, dismissing an intervener application moved by lawyer SS Swaich, who was arguing that the Haryana government cannot use “lethal weapons” that had resulted people losing their vision.

The two PILs were filed by advocate Uday Pratap Singh and another by lawyer Arvind Seth. Singh’s PIL sought directions to Haryana to lift restrictions imposed by invoking Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code and the suspension of mobile internet services and bulk SMSes in several districts.

The second PIL sought directions to ensure that all national and state highways and rail tracks in Punjab and Haryana are not blocked by farmers and immediate action be taken against the agitators.

Demanding a law on the minimum support price (MSP) for all crops, the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s formula, full debt waiver for farmers, pension for farmers and labourers, withdrawal of cases against farmers during the 2020-21 protest, hundreds of farmers are camping at Shambhu near Ambala and Khanauri border in Jind in response to the Delhi Chalo agitation led by two outfits – Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KSMC) and Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Sidhupur).

Four rounds of talks of farmer leaders with the Centre have failed. Union ministers met the farmers in the presence of Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann during the fourth round in Chandigarh on Sunday.

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