The Supreme Court has moved downtown over roads still blocked by peasant groups protesting the three agricultural laws:
The Supreme Court on Monday lifted the center and two state governments over roads in the national capital region that remain blocked by peasant groups protesting the three agricultural laws, saying “you (the center and governments of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana) must find a solution while recognizing the farmers’ right to protest.
“You have to find a solution… They (farmers) have the right to protest, but the inflow and outflow cannot be interrupted. (This) causes great inconvenience to other people. When there are protests, traffic is not allowed be stopped … the movement of people must not be disturbed,” said a bank headed by Justice SK Kaul.
“The solution lies in the hands of the center and the state governments,” the court said.
The case is on the list for next month.
The court responded to an affidavit from the government of Uttar Pradesh saying that efforts were being made to “make farmers understand (the) highly illegal act of blocking roads”. The affidavit said removing the rioters was difficult because most of them are “older and old farmers.”
“(Road) diversions have been made to allow smooth flow of traffic between Ghaziabad (and other places in the state) and Delhi via Maharajpur and Hindon roads as NH 24 is still blocked,” the UP said government in its affidavit, complaining that the highway was “repeatedly blocked by peasant protests in January, March and again in April”.
The affidavit was in response to a PIL by a resident of Noida – Monica Agarwal had demanded that the roads between Noida and Delhi be kept clear so that passenger traffic is not affected.
According to her PIL, Ms Agarwal is a single parent with medical problems.
She said it has become a “nightmare” to travel between Delhi and Noida – the journey takes two hours instead of the usual 20 minutes. Ms Agarwal said she had to travel between the two as part of her job.
The Supreme Court had made statements to the governments of Haryana and UP based on the plea.
It had also notified the Delhi government and police.
In the past, the Supreme Court had said, “The bigger problem can be solved judiciously, administratively and politically… but it shouldn’t bother the common man. We’ve said this repeatedly – that public roads should not be blocked.”
Thousands of farmers – most from Punjab, Haryana and western UP – have camped in and around Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur – three locations on the borders of the national capital – as well as roads connecting Delhi to Noida.
Their protests made headlines after it sparked violent clashes with police in Haryana and Delhi, sparking criticism of the center over how it kicked off what started out as a peaceful movement.
Across the country, tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting since last November to repeal laws they fear will eliminate the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system and leave small and fringe growers at the mercy of big companies.
However, the government has maintained that the laws are beneficial and has refused to roll back. However, it has offered to discuss them “point by point” and make some changes.
Several rounds of talks have failed to break the deadlock between the two sides.