Farmers Protests: Why do you want us to tell you what powers you have? CJI Bobde asks AG

The Supreme Court Monday told the Central Government that it was not for the Court to decide who will be allowed to enter Delhi or not, and the number of people to be allowed as that was a matter of law and order, and for the police to decide.

These observations by CJI SA Bobde came while the court was hearing a plea filed by the Delhi police seeking to prohibit protesting farmers from holding a proposed tractor/trolley/vehicle march or any other kind of protest, which they said was seeking to disrupt Republic Day celebrations.

Attorney General KK Venugopal, representing the Central government, said that the situation at hand was extraordinary, leading CJI Bobde to retort, “Why do you want us to tell (you) what powers you have? Does the Union of India need the Supreme Court to tell (them) what powers it has under the Police Act,”

The bench, which also had Justices Nageswara Rao and Vineet Saran, adjourned the matter to January 20 as the bench composition which has hearing farmers matter was not available today.

The farmers’ matter is being heard by a bench comprising the CJI with Justices AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian.

The Delhi Police in its plea said that it has come to the knowledge of security agencies through various sources that a small group of protesting individuals/organisations had planned to carry out a tractor/trolley/vehicle march on Republic Day, and this was bound to create a massive law and order situation.

“The said proposed march/protest seeks to disrupt and disturb such celebrations which is bound to create a serious law and order situation and will cause an embarrassment to the nation”, the plea said.

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The plea contended that the right to protest was always subject to countervailing public order and public interest. The right to protest, the plea said, can never include maligning the nation globally.

Earlier, the top court stayed the implementation of the three farm laws until further orders and constituted a four members Committee for the purpose of listening to the grievances of the farmers about the farm laws as well as the views of the Government and to make recommendations thereafter.