Farmers’ protest can continue as long as it does not result in damage to life and properties: Supreme Court


New Delhi: Allowing the farmers’ protest to be continued, as long as it “does not result in damage to the life and properties of other citizens”, the Supreme Court on Thursday suggested the constitution of a “committee, comprising of independent and impartial persons, including experts in the field of agriculture”, to end the stalemate with the government.

“We are of the view that at this stage, the farmers’ protest should be allowed to continue without impediment and without any breach of peace either by the protesters or the police,” a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said in its order on a petition, seeking removal of protesters from the Delhi borders.

The bench added: “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 Bench added.

It posted the matter for next hearing after winter vacation when the court reopens on January 4, 2021.

The farmers have been protesting in and around the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws — the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The Supreme Court further clarified that it will not interfere with the protest in question. “Indeed the right to protest is part of a fundamental right and can as a matter of fact, be exercised subject to public order. There can certainly be no impediment in the exercise of such rights as long as it is non-violent and does not result in damage to the life and properties of other citizens and is in accordance with law.” (ANI)