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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

SC bench postpones plea calling for removal of protesting farmers, once again

SC (Supreme Court) bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud that had earlier postponed the May 10 hearing of the petition seeking removal of farmers protesting at Delhi borders amid rising cases of Chinese Virus citing server issues, conducted a brief hearing on May 31, and directly posted the matter for July 12 without passing any judgment even as the Solicitor General of India (SGI) suggested taking up all Covid related petitions through the Amicus. The plea has been filed by Sanjeev Newar and journalist Swati Goel Sharma.

The SC has been giving so-called farmers a long rope and treating them with kid gloves. The current postponement should be seen as a continuation of the court’s hesitancy to deal strictly with the farmers even as Delhi has been struggling with rising cases of Chinese Virus caused by the UK strain which has most likely been fuelled by farmer protests where ex-pats returning from UK and Canada are more likely to have carried the foreign strains and along with the protests itself led to the spread of Covid resulting in rising cases.

Both the government and the judiciary have failed to deal strictly with the protestors even after the Republic Day violence where besides the police being beaten up by so-called farmers, children also suffered a traumatic experience.

The farmers’ protests are politically motivated is proven by the fact that reports have emerged indicating that the protests would now move from Delhi to Yogi Adityanath-ruled Uttar Pradesh (UP) where assembly polls are set to take place next year.

There have been reports of no protocols pertaining to the Chinese Virus pandemic such as masks and social distancing being followed at protests sites in Ghazipur and Singhu. The protestors have been refusing to undergo Covid tests and get themselves vaccinated thereby endangering the lives of the people.

Additionally, they have been making wild allegations and bizarre conspiracy theories. They alleged that the Chinese Virus is a conspiracy by PM Modi. “Don’t people die of cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses? There’s just this corona-corona hype,” said Balbir Singh, from UP’s Lakhimpur, at Ghazipur. “It’s just a means for Modi to impose a lockdown so people can’t gather, and to disperse the protest.”

Despite the health risks and inconvenience caused to the residents of the area, the SC said way back in December 2020 that the agitations should be allowed to continue without any impediment adding that the court will not “interfere” with it as the right to protest is a fundamental right.

The SC had also expressed dissatisfaction with the Government for ‘failing to negotiate with the farmers and had ordered the setting up of a committee consisting of farmer union representatives from across the country and government, to resolve the deadlock.

It must, however, be pointed out that the court’s stance was in direct contrast to its October ruling when it had opined that “protests must take place only in designated places” and that Shaheen Bagh like protests (against the CAA law) at public places cannot be allowed for an indefinite period.

Why is SC now giving so-called farmers a long rope? Shouldn’t the apex court be more concerned about the safety of Delhi’s citizens? When it had itself said that public places shouldn’t be allowed to be occupied for an indefinite period then why shouldn’t farmer protestors be cleared with immediate effect? Instead of dealing with the matter urgently, the SC has pushed the matter six weeks away.

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