Supreme Court recognizes farmers' right to peaceful protest
The Supreme Court of India has recognized the farmers’ right to protest peacefully and has said that the protest should be allowed without any obstruction.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said that as there can be no curb to farmers’ right to protest as long as it doesn’t lead to violence or property damage of other citizens. "Indeed the right to protest is part of a fundamental right and can as a matter of fact, be exercised subject to public order. We are of the view at this stage that the Farmers’ Protest should be allowed to continue without impediment and without any breach of peace either by the protesters or the police," the Court said, adding that it will not interfere with the protest.
The apex court added that a committee of experts from the field of agriculture must be constituted for this purpose. “In order to bring about an effective solution to the present stalemate between the protesters and the Government of India, we consider it appropriate in the interests of justice to constitute a Committee comprising of independent and impartial persons including experts in the field of agriculture for the purpose. This may not be possible without hearing all the necessary parties. Till the parties come before us, it would be advisable to obtain suggestions about the constitution of the said Committee from all the parties which may be submitted by them on the date of next hearing in the matter,” the Court said.
Earlier, the Supreme Court suggested that the Centre put the new agriculture laws on hold so that negotiations with the farmers can continue. However, Attorney General KK Venugopal disagreed with the SC’s suggestion, saying that the farmers will not come forward for negotiations if the Centre puts the farm laws on hold.