‘For police to decide’: SC won’t rule on plea against farmers’ tractor march
The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to pass any order on the plea seeking injunction against the tractor rally proposed by agitating farmers on Republic Day, saying that it was a matter for the police to decide, following which the Centre withdrew its plea.
"We've said that it is for the police to decide. We are not going to pass the orders. You are the authority to take action," Chief Justice of India SA Bobde told the Centre.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for eight farm unions seeking to take out the tractor rally, told the court that the farmers have no intention to breach peace. However, Attorney General KK Venugopal argued, “5000 tractors are coming into the city. It certainly can't be maintained on roads. They will go everywhere. Bhushan is well intentioned that peace will be maintained. In Karnal, the farmers destroyed the pandal. There was a law and order situation and CM Haryana could not meet them. The police will take a call.”
The court told the farmers to assure the citizens of Delhi of complete peace and told the Centre to ask authorities how the march can be peaceful. “These are matters purely in the domain of the executive,” the top court said.
Later in the day, a group of farm union leaders will meet top officials of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh police to discuss the route and arrangements for their tractor rally on January 26 to protest against the three farm laws, a union leader was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Slamming the criticism against the members of the panel it appointed to discuss the matter, the Supreme Court asked, “Where is the question of bias when the committee is not given any power of adjudication?” The top court also issued a notice to the Centre on an application by Bhartiya Kisan Party for filling up vacancy in the four-member Committee after Bhupinder Singh Mann of BKU recused himself from it.
The top court had, on January 12, stayed the implementation of the three laws passed by Parliament in September. The farmers who have been protesting for 56 days now want a complete roll-back of the legislation, however, the government has ruled out that possibility and has offered to make amendments. .
As nine rounds of talks between the Centre and farmers have remained inconclusive, they will meet later this afternoon for the 10th round of talks in an effort to end the impasse over the three contentious agricultural laws enacted during the monsoon session of Parliament.