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'Balance Right To Protest & Right To Movement'-Plea In Supreme Court Seeks Direction To Allow Farmers Protest At Jantar Manter

Sanya Talwar
8 Dec 2020 4:22 PM GMT
Balance Right To Protest & Right To Movement-Plea In Supreme Court Seeks Direction To Allow Farmers Protest At Jantar Manter
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A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to allow the protesting farmers to enter in Delhi and allow them to protest at the designated place for protest i. e. Jantar Manter by following the guidelines for COVID.The plea filed on behalf of Advocate Reepak Kansal seeks indulgence of the Court to protect and safeguard the "human and fundamental rights of protesting...

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A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to allow the protesting farmers to enter in Delhi and allow them to protest at the designated place for protest i. e. Jantar Manter by following the guidelines for COVID.

The plea filed on behalf of Advocate Reepak Kansal seeks indulgence of the Court to protect and safeguard the "human and fundamental rights of protesting of farmers whom, the petitioner states, are not allowed being allowed to enter in Delhi for peaceful protest.

The petitioner has prayed for framing of guidelines or lay down law to balance a citizen's right to protest with another's right to free access & movement.

In this context, Kansal states that on the other hand citizens of the country who have been suffering due to said gathering of protestors at borders of Delhi. 

"Article 19 (1) (b) of the Constitution of India, provide that the right to assemble peaceably and without arms. Thereby, right to peaceful protest is bestowed to Indian citizens by our Constitution. The groups of protesting farmers wanted to do peaceful protest at the designated place in Delhi which was not allowed by the respondents, law enforcing agencies / security forces which deployed by the respondents on the borders of Delhi or in its' respective States to stop the groups of protesting farmers."

- Plea in SC

The petition has highlighted that Delhi & Haryana Police used force as well as water cannons and tear gas shells at state borders to disperse protesting farmers, even though the Court has held in various judgments that the right of people to protest in a democracy was sacrosanct.

It has been averred that the Delhi police/ security forces placed big vehicles, fencing, permanent gates/ temporary or permanent structures to stop the protestors at the boundary of Delhi and closed the boundaries of Delhi for protesting farmers and have illegally closed all all the boundaries of Delhi and restricted the entry of the protestors in Delhi therefore, violated the rights of protesters/farmers.

In this light, the petitioner has sough the indulgence of the top court to issue an appropriate Writ directing the respondent not to use force on the protesting farmers who have been protesting peacefully.

"The executive cannot close down any area permanently for protests or impose a blanket ban on all protests," plea states.

In this backdrop, the petitioner seeks issuance of an appropriate Writ, Order (s) or direction (s) in the nature of Mandamus directing the respondents to allow the protestors to enter in Delhi and allow them to protest at the designated place for protest i. e. Jantar Manter by following the guidelines for COVID.

Additionally, the petitioner also seeks directions to the respondent to fulfil its obligation to respect the right to protest by the citizens.

Recently, a petition was filed by a law student in the Supreme Court seeking immediate removal of protesting farmers from border areas of Delhi-NCR on the ground that they increase the risk of COVID-19 spread in Delhi.

On October 12, the court issued notice to the Central Government on three writ petitions challenging the three farm laws passed by the Parliament recently, which have attracted opposition from several farmers groups across the country.

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