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Covid-19: Plea in Supreme Court seeks removal of farmers blocking roads in the outskirts of Delhi

The plea seeks direction to the center to create exhaustive guidelines relating to outright restrictions for holding the protests/ agitations leading to obstruction of the public places in the future.

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A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court for a direction to the Central government to immediately remove the group of farmers protesting against farm laws in view of the surge in Covid-19 cases across the country.

The plea also sought a direction to the Centre to restrain agitating farmers from constructing permanent structures along public roads across the borders of NCT of Delhi and/or declare the participation of public representatives in the said agitation illegal as it contravenes the provision of Schedule-III of the Constitution as the said agitation is against laws.

The plea seeks to issue directions to the Centre for laying down comprehensive guidelines relating to outright restrictions on holding protests/ agitations leading to obstruction of public places in the future and/or direct the respondents to ensure immediate removal of the protesters from place of protests across the borders of the capital city i.e. NCT of Delhi, who are illegally protesting against the farm laws by blocking the common and public road connecting to the various states.

The plea, filed by Dr Nand Kishore Garg of the BJP, raises following question of laws before of Supreme Court:- 

(a) Whether, the continuous protest over Farm Laws is justified in as much as Supreme Court was pleased to grant stay on the operation of said Farm Laws till further order, if the protest is found to be unjustified and contrary to the rule of law, under what circumstances law enforcement authorities are allowing the said unjustified protest to continue creating obstruction and inconvenience to the common people since several months? 

(b) Whether, the moral and logistical supports provided by the two state governments (i.e. Govt. of NCT of Delhi and State of Punjab) through their Chief Minsters including other elected representatives are constitutionally permissible in as much as they had been administered oath of office under sub clause-3 of the Article 164 read with third schedule of the Constitution of India? 

(c) Whether, the said protest is constitutionally and legally justified when the fundamental rights of thousands of citizen are being trampled over by group of protesters/agitators and as such the common people are being deprived from the exercising their fundamental rights under part-III of the Constitution of India on account of failure of state machinery? 

(d) Whether, the State has the duty to protect the fundamental rights of thousands of the citizen who are continuously being harassed by the blockage of the arterial road connecting NCT of Delhi to other states, resulting into deprivation and privation of various rights including the right to livelihood?

(e) Whether, there should be the guidelines relating to protest over the public roads and other publicly important places so that the frequent and regular protest should not pose obstruction to the enjoyment of the fundamental rights of common citizen? 

(f) Whether, the holders of the constitutional posts can be permitted to participate in the protest which are being organized on the public roads or publicly important places, if not, they should be made liable and accountable to the rule of law for violating the constitutional obligations once they are administered oath of office under schedule-III of the Constitution of India?

 (g) Whether, the acts of the such protesters on the public roads and other publicly important places are not a violative of the provision under Part-III of the Constitution of India where the fundamental rights of crores of people are lying obstructed as the right to protest which springs from Article 19(1)(a) is not absolute and unchecked but subject to reasonable restrictions caused due to said unjustified protest? 

(h) Whether, the judgments and orders of this Hon’ble Court would be the piece of paper without their mandatory enforcement in such crisis situation. As this Hon’ble Court has observed that there cannot be any liberty which is absolute in nature and uncontrolled in operation so as to confer any rights wholly free from any restraint. Had there been no restraint, the rights and freedoms may become synonymous with anarchy and disorder as was held in State of West Bengal Vs. Subodh Gopal Bose [AIR 1954 SC 92]?

The Grounds taken in the plea are as follows :- 

  1. The continuous protest led by several Kisan Unions is completely illegal and unjustified as Supreme Court was pleased to grant stay on the operation of the said Farm Law. As such, there is no cause of action for the staging the said protest under the garb of agitation against new Farm Law. Thus, the said protest is liable to be vacated immediately on this ground alone.
  2. The agitating framers are violating the orders and judgments of Supreme Court where Court was pleased to hold that the Public Places must not be occupied by the protesters causing inconvenience to the common people. As such, this protest is illegal and is liable to be removed immediately in the interest of public at large.
  3. The protestor are violating the fundamental rights of crores of the people in the locality, moreover, it is against the constitution as the Constitution spells out the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 (1) (a) subject to the reasonable restriction under Article 19 (2) of the Constitution of India. However, these rights are not free from any restrictions and are not absolute in their terms and application. Articles 19 (2) and 19 (3), respectively, control the freedoms available to a citizen. Article 19 (2) empowers the State to impose reasonable restrictions on exercise of the right to freedom of speech and expression in the interest of the factors stated in the said clause. Similarly, Article 19 (3) enables the state to make any law imposing reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred, again in the interest of the factors stated therein.
  4. The protests are causing tremendous hardships to the common commuters from the other states to the NCT of Delhi. The innocent commuters are forced to take longer hours journey due to blockage of boarders road on account of said protest. The sick people including Covid-19 infected patients are not able to reach the super-specialty hospitals as the most of such hospitals are situated in Delhi only and common people are facing extremely difficult situation.

Read Also: Delhi HC says it will hang anyone holding up oxygen supply to Delhi hospitals

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