The Allahabad High Court Tuesday took strong exception to the Sitapur district administration asking farmers, who were tractor owners, to furnish an exorbitant Rs.50,000 to 10 lakh as personal bonds and sureties.
Additional Advocate General, on being asked by the High Court the reason for issuing such notices, could not justify the act of the Sub-Divisional Magistrates (SDM) of various divisions working under the District Magistrate, Sitapur.
The Government’s lawyer, however, informed the High Court that the proceedings against all the farmers had been dropped. He assured the High Court that he would instruct the District Magistrate Sitapur to be careful in future when any such proceedings were initiated so that no unnecessary harassment is caused to any person and further to instruct the SDMs working under him.
Accepting the statement of the government lawyer, a division bench of Ramesh Sinha and Rajeev Singh said “we hope and trust that the respondent No.2-District Magistrate Sitapur and the SDMs working under him shall be cautious in passing orders in any proceedings of such a nature calling upon the persons to execute personal bond and sureties and their orders, act and conduct should not be such which reflects arbitrariness and against the principles of natural justice”.
Notices were issued to 162 persons for executing the bond of Rs.10 lacs and two sureties of the like amount out of which 43 persons had appeared in the matter.
“On the basis of fresh challani reports, proceeding against all the persons have been dropped, as there is no further apprehension to breach of peace or disturbance of public tranquility,” the government told the High Court.
The Court was ruling on a plea filed by social activist Arundhati Dhuru, who alleged that several orders had been passed by sub-divisional magistrates of different areas in District Sitapur, whereby notices had been issued to farmers, including women farmers, calling on them to furnish personal bonds of Rs 50,000 to 10 lakh and two sureties in the like amount on the apprehension that they would violate the law in light of the farmers protests in the district.