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‘Find a solution’: SC to Centre on roads blocked due to farmers’ protest

NEW DELHI, AUG 23 (IANS) | Publish Date: 8/23/2021 1:11:50 PM IST

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to find a solution to the blockade of roads in Delhi-NCR, against the backdrop of the ongoing farmers’ protest against the three agriculture laws.

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Noida resident Monicca Agarwaal had moved the top court challenging the road blockade caused by farmers protesting at Delhi-Noida border.

Saying that she is a single parent and also had some medical issues, the petitioner claimed that her travel to Delhi was taking two hours instead of normal 20 minutes.

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy noted protestors have a right to protest at a designated space but they cannot block the outflow and inflow of traffic. “Solution lies in the hands of Union of India and state governments,” said the bench.

It told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who representing the Centre that “You have to find a solution, they might have the right to a place to agitate, but the roads cannot be blocked like this.”

The bench scheduled the matter for further hearing on September 20. “You now have enough time. Please work out something,” the bench told Mehta.

The Uttar Pradesh government, in its affidavit, said there are at present 141 tents and 31 langars around the area, the protestors have installed a platform on the flyover from where leaders give speeches, and a media house has also been made below the flyover.

“At present, there are about 800-1,000 protestors in the area, however, a crowd of up to 15,000 protestors collect on their call within hours from adjoining towns and villages,” it said.

The state government added that as per top court order on March 26, 2021, police and state administration have approached the protestors/farmers with the orders passed by the court and have made tireless efforts to make them understand “their grossly illegal act” of blocking public roads causing inconvenience to travellers.

“That large numbers of the protestors are very old and aged farmers from various districts of the state who require to take up precautions during the Covid-19 wave. That the efforts of intervention are still in process.”

Earlier, the court had asked the Uttar Pradesh and Haryana governments to file their responses on the plea, which had sought a direction to the Centre and others to ensure that the road between Noida to Delhi was kept clear so that the passage was allowed.

The farmers have been protesting at Delhi borders since last November. The three contentious farm laws have been stayed by the top court on January 12.

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