Supreme Court collegium recommends 16 names for elevation as judges of four HCs

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday sought responses from 43 farmers’ bodies and their leaders, including Rakesh Tikait, Darshan Pal and Gurnam Singh who are leading protests at Delhi borders against the farm laws, on Haryana government’s plea alleging that they have not been participating in talks with its panel to resolve the impasse over road blockade here.

Haryana has moved the application in the PIL filed by a Noida-resident Monicca Agrawaal who has sought removal of blockade saying that earlier it took 20 minutes to reach Delhi and now it is taking over two hours and people of the area are facing hardships due to protests at the UP Gate on Delhi border.

“Issue notice, Dasti (through messenger) as well,” a bench comprising Justices S K Kaul and M M Sundresh said while taking note of the plea.

“Mr Mehta (Solicitor General Tushar Mehta), you have made around 43 persons as parties. How will you serve them,” the bench asked.

Mehta said the farm leaders are necessary parties in the matter and he will ensure serving of notice on them and sought hearing of the plea on Friday, that is October 8.

Mehta, representing the state, said that Haryana has set up a panel for holding talks with the protesting farm leaders who have refused to take part in talks intended to resolve the issue.

“Let notice be issued so that they do not say that they had no reason to come,” he submitted.

The bench has now posted the matter for further hearing on October 20.

Haryana, in its plea, said that the state level panel was set up by it on September 15, 2021 to hold discussions with the farmers’ bodies but they refused to come forward for talks on September 19.

“The Dharna on Sindu Border and Tikri Border is being organized by Sanyukt Kisan Morcha which is a body of number of Kisan Unions and the name of the parties for impleadment mentioned herein above are the office bearer/workers of various Kisan Unions therefore, are the necessary party to resolve the issue”, the plea said.

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The bench had in an earlier hearing wondered by saying that how can highways be blocked perpetually.

“The redressal of problems can be through judicial forum, agitation or through Parliamentary debates. But how can the highways be blocked and this is happening perpetually. Where does this end,” it had asked.

It had also asked the Centre what was the government was doing in the matter.

The Centre had said that it had convened a meeting with the protesting farmers and details have been mentioned in the affidavit.

Mehta had the said the court should allow the petitioner to make the farmers union party to the petition, so that later they don’t say that they were not made parties in the matter.

The bench had told Mehta that it is he who will have to move an application for making farmers representative party as the petitioner, a private individual may not know who their leaders are.

On August 23, the top court had said that the Centre and Delhi’s neighbouring states should find a solution to road blockades on the national capital’s borders due to farmers’ protest.

It had told the Centre why the government can’t find a solution to this problem as though farmers have the right to protest but at the designated places and due to the protests, inflow and outflow of traffic cannot be disrupted.

The top court had said that this will have an impact on toll collection as well because vehicles will not be able to pass through due to the blockades.

It had then ordered, “Solution lies in the hands of the Union of India and the concerned state governments.

They have to coordinate to find a solution that when a protest takes place, roads are not blocked and traffic is not disrupted to cause inconvenience to the common people”.

On March 26, the top court had issued notice to Uttar Pradesh and Haryana on the plea.

The Uttar Pradesh government has said in its affidavit that continuous efforts are being made to remove the blockade at the Delhi-UP border and there at present about 141 tents and 31 ‘langars’ around the area, and the protestors have installed a platform on the flyover from where the leaders give speeches, a media house has also been made below the flyover.

Similarly, the Haryana government also told the top court that protesters staging ‘dharna’ at Singhu border have been camping on about 6 kilometres stretch of lanes of NH-44 since November 27, last year.

The farmers are protesting against passage of three laws-Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.

Initially, the protests started from Punjab in November last year and later spread to Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and some other parts of the country.