Sunday, December 3, 2023

Farmer blocking roads: 4-member committee formed for discussion, says Haryana in SC

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The state of Haryana on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it has constituted a four-member Committee under the leadership of IAS Rajeev Arora, Additional Chief Secretary, Haryana Home Department, to hold discussions with the Farmers/Farmer’s Organisations to resolve the issue of blockades of Inter-State Roads and National Highways, to avoid any inconvenience to the general public. 

The Committee formed shall also consist of PK Aggarwal, IPS, Director General of Police Haryana; Navdeep Singh Virk, IPS, Additional Director General of Police, Haryana, Law and Order and Dr Balkar Singh, IAS, Secretary to Government, Haryana Home-I Department.

An affidavit filed through Dr Balkar Singh, IAS Secretary to the Government of Haryana Home-I Department, stated “Sincere efforts are being made to remove the blockades from Inter-State roads and National Highways and to resume free flow of traffic on those roads for the convenience of general public by way of persuading the Farmers/Farmer’s Organisations to cooperate. Regular deliberations are being held by local administration with the Farmer/Farmer’s organisations from time to time to convince them to remove the blockade as General Public is facing great hardship due to such blockades.”

The matter was listed before the bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh, but the hearing was adjourned. 

The affidavit comes as a response to the writ petition filed by a woman resident of Noida, seeking direction to ensure that the road between Noida to Delhi is kept clear, so that the passage from one place to another is not affected. The petitioner stated that she is in a marketing job and her work requires her to travel from her home in Noida to Delhi. She further alleged that her travel to Delhi is taking two hours instead of the normal 20 minutes. The woman expressed that she is a single parent and also suffering from some medical issues. She contended that despite the various directions passed by the Supreme Court to keep the to and fro passage clear (the roads), the same still does not happen.

On August 23, 2021, the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended,

“The solution lies in the hands of Union of India and the concerned State Governments and they must coordinate to ensure that if the protests are on, at least the Inter-State roads and National Highways are not blocked in any manner whatsoever, so that to and fro on those roads does not cause great inconvenience to the other persons who use those roads.” 

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On July 19, 2021, the petitioner appeared in person and stated that there was no improvement in the situation. “Moreover, the Counsel for respondent Nos.3 & 4 had not placed their stand on record, more so in the context of the affidavit file by respondent No.2,” the Court noted. 

On April 9, 2021, the bench led by Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta, emphasised that the bench was not concerned with the larger issue, but only with of blockage of public streets and free flow of traffic. Further on a perusal of the counter affidavit filed by respondent No.2, the court had considered it appropriate to implead the State of Haryana and the State of Uttar Pradesh as respondent Nos.3 and 4, respectively.

On March 26, 2021, the Court had issued notice to the Centre and the Delhi Police Commissioner and directed to ensure that the road area is kept clear, so that the passage from one place to other is not affected.


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