The Centre on Wednesday withdrew its plea seeking injunction against the proposed tractor rally by farmers on Republic Day after the Supreme Court said it was a “law and order matter” and it was “inappropriate for it to act as first authority”.
The court’s observations came during a hearing on the plea of the central government, filed though the Delhi Police, seeking an injunction against the proposed tractor march or any other kind of protest by farmers that seeks to disrupt the gathering and celebrations of Republic Day on January 26.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde said, “We have told you that we will not issue any direction. It is a police matter. We will allow you to withdraw. You are the authority and you have to deal with it. You have the powers to pass orders, you do it. It is not for the court to pass orders.”
The bench, also comprising of Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, had said on Monday that police was the first authority to decide who should be allowed to enter Delhi.
As part of their protest, on January 26, thousands of farmers from Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders are set to take out a tractor march on Delhi’s Outer Ring Road. Ahead of the proposed tractor rally, senior Delhi Police officers met farm leaders at Singhu border on Tuesday to discuss the route and security arrangements.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at various border points of Delhi for over a month now against the three laws — the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act.
Farm panel not conferred with any adjudicatory power: CJI
The top court also expressed “serious reservations” on aspersions cast on members of the panel appointed by it to resolve impasse over farm laws, saying they have not been conferred with any adjudicatory power.
The Supreme Court had on January 11 stayed the implementation of the three laws, against which farmers are protesting at Delhi borders for over 50 days now, till further orders and appointed a four-member panel to resolve the impasse.
The committee comprised Bhupinder Singh Mann, national president of Bhartiya Kisan Union; Dr Parmod Kumar Joshi, Director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute; Ashok Gulati, agricultural economist and former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices; and Anil Ghanwat, president of Shetkari Sanghatana.
However, Bhupinder Singh Mann, president of Bharti Kisan Union (Mann) and chairman of All India Kisan Coordination Committee, had recused himself from the court-appointed panel two days after his induction, allegedly due to protests over his pro-farm laws stand in the past.
CJI Bobde said the court intervened for the common interest of the people and those appointed to the committee were the best in agriculture. “You just malign them for some opinion expressed in past. The court appoints someone and you shred their reputation,” he said.
“We have appointed experts in the committee as we are not experts,” he added.
The CJI clarified that the committee was appointed to listen to the grievances of affected parties and has not been conferred with any adjudicatory power.
On Tuesday, the CJI had observed that a person will not be disqualified from being a member of any committee merely because he or she previously held an opinion on the subject being considered by it.
“There is some confusion regarding the law. Somebody may have an opinion before being part of the committee but his opinion can change. There is no way that such a person cannot be part of the committee,” he had said.