The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to entertain the Centre's plea against the proposed tractor rally by farmers on Republic Day, saying it is the matter for the police to decide.
The Bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI), SA Bobde, said police have the authority to deal with the issues pertaining to the proposed tractor rally.
"We have told you that we will not issue any direction. It is for the police to decide. We will allow you to withdraw. You are the authority and you have the power to take action. You have the powers to pass orders, you do it. It is not for the court to pass orders," the bench said.
As the top court said it will not pass any order on the issue, the Centre withdrew the plea.
During the hearing, Attorney General Venugopal told the apex court that almost 5,000 tractors are coming inside Delhi on that day and farmers will go all around the city.
The CJI told the Attorney General that these matters are purely in the executive domain.
The Bench also asked advocate Prashant Bhushan, who was appearing for some farmers unions in the case, to see that the unions he is representing assure the citizens of Delhi complete peace, "as a court we are only expressing our anxiety".
Bhushan said farmers only want to celebrate Republic Day on outer ring road peacefully and there is no attempt to destroy peace.
The Bench also asked to see what solution can be found in the issue of Committee formed by the top court where farmers have refused to participate. In this case, just saying not appearing before the committee will not help, the CJI observed.
It also told Bhushan that he has to counsel the parties to bring about peace. He replied that farmers' unions say they do not want any amendments in the law and they only want it to be repealed.
Bhushan said farmers are trying to put democratic pressure, they fear that if they get up and go away since laws are not in force then later if courts come to the conclusion that laws are constitutional and interim orders are withdrawn then what happens. That is why they are apprehensive, the advocate added.
To this, the CJI said: "In a democracy other than repeal, the court can set aside law and court is seized of the matter. The law is not in force at the moment."
If we uphold the farm laws then you can start the agitation, but peace has to be maintained, CJI Bobde said.
Earlier, the top court while hearing Centre's plea against proposed tractor rally had said that entry into Delhi is a law and order issue and who should be allowed entry and on what conditions are determined by police.
The Centre filed the plea through Delhi Police seeking an injunction against the proposed tractor or trolley march or any other kind of protest, which seeks to disrupt the gathering and celebrations of the Republic Day on January 26.
The Centre, in an application filed through Delhi Police, has said any proposed rally or protest, which seeks to disrupt and disturb the Republic Day celebrations will cause an "embarrassment to the nation".
The Centre has said the right to protest can never include "maligning the nation globally". It urged the apex court to restrain anyone from conducting any protest march either in the form of tractor march, trolley march, vehicle march or any other mode by entering into the National Capital Region territory of Delhi.
The top court on January 12 had stayed the implementation of the contentious new farm laws till further orders and constituted a four-member committee to make recommendations to resolve the impasse over them between the Centre and farmers' unions protesting at Delhi borders.
Days after top court's order, Bhupinder Singh Mann, National President, Bhartiya Kisan Union and All India Kisan Coordination Committee, part of the apex-court formed Committee, recused from the expert panel.
CJI says, if we uphold farmers' laws then you can start agitation but peace has to be maintained.— ANI (@ANI) January 20, 2021
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for 8 farmer unions, tells CJI that farmers only want to celebrate Republic Day on outer ring road peacefully,there's no attempt to destroy peace
( With inputs from ANI )
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