Farm laws: Petitioner seeks to implead over 40 protesting farmer unions as party in SC

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New Delhi, Dec 23 (PTI) One of the petitioners, who has approached the Supreme Court for direction to the authorities to remove farmers protesting at several border points of Delhi against three new farm laws, has sought to implead over 40 farmer unions as party in the pending case.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, which had on December 17 said that farmers' agitation should be allowed to continue “without impediment” and the apex court will not interfere with it as the right to protest is a fundamental right, had given liberty to the petitioner to serve the impleaded farmer unions.

Law student Rishabh Sharma, one of the petitioners in the case, has now filed an amended memo of parties in the top court in which he has impleaded over 40 farmer unions, including Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), as respondents in the matter.

Some other farmers unions which are sought to be impleaded as respondents by the petitioner are – BKU-Sidhupur, BKU-Rajewal, BKU-Lakhowal, BKU-Dakaunda, BKU-Doaba, Jamhoori Kisan Sabha and Kul Hind Kisan Federation.

The top court had on December 16 permitted impleading of these eight unions as respondents in the matter.

Sharma, in his petition filed through advocate Om Prakash Parihar, has sought a direction to the authorities to remove the protesting farmers from several border points in the national capital saying commuters are facing hardships due to the road blockades and the gatherings might lead to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

He has also sought directions to authorities to open the roads at Delhi's borders, shift the protesters to the allotted place and provide guidelines on social distancing and use of masks at the protest site in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

While acknowledging the right to non-violent protest of farmers, the apex court had last week observed that farmers’ right to protest should not infringe the fundamental rights of others to move freely and in getting essential food and other supplies as right to protest cannot mean blockade of the entire city.

“We clarify that this court 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,” the court had said on December 17 while hearing a batch of pleas on the issue.

The top court had told Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) group, which was the only farmer organisation represented before the court on December 17, that they cannot keep on protesting without talking to the government. PTI ABA SJK SA