Farmers protesting against the three farm laws passed in September are adamant that they be repealed and have come prepared to stay on the borders of Delhi for six months if need be, the Centre told the Supreme Court today. “Blockade happens only in war,” Attorney General KK Venugopal, who was representing the Centre, told the court.
Arguing that the farmers’ blockade at the Delhi border will have to go, the Centre said “it affects the right to movement and the damage is enormous”.
“The worst of all is that there is no use of mask no social distancing. COVID will be spreading and they go back to village and spreading the virus throughout the state,” Mr Venugopal said, citing the tens of thousands of farmers who have gathered at the border.
Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, who was leading the bench hearing a clutch of petitions on the protest, questioned if the farmers have blocked the roads of the whole city. On hearing it was a highway where they have been camping, he said, “Tikri and Singhu are already blocked. It is not as if Delhi is been choked”.
The Centre’s repeated attempts to push for clause-by-clause negotiations were also brushed off by the court, which had recommended the formation of a panel yesterday.
“We observed yesterday that the Centre is not successful in negotiations. We do not think that the farmers will accept your conclusions. Let the committee decide,” Justice Bobde said.
Maintaining that the farmers have the fundamental right to protest, the court suggested that the government not take any executive action to implement the law till a final decision is taken on the matter. Mr Venugopal said he would get back after discussion with the government.