The Supreme Court said on Monday that the tractor rally on Republic Day proposed by the farmers is a matter of law and order and has to be determined by the police. The Supreme Court also told the Centre during the hearing on a petition seeking an order against the tractor rally planned by the farmers that it has all the authority to deal with the matter.
The Supreme Court heard a central government petition, filed by the Delhi Police, seeking an order against the tractor march of the protesting farmers or any other form of protest “which seeks to disrupt the gathering and celebrations” of Republic Day on 26 January.
The #SupremCourt on Monday told the #DelhiPolice that it is the 'first authority' to decide whether protesting #farmers can be granted entry into the national capital or not.
Read more: https://t.co/DRDBqKQAPi#tractorrally #farmersrprotest pic.twitter.com/eImk3ddTAI
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) January 18, 2021
“Police is the first authority to decide who should be allowed to enter Delhi. The question of who should be allowed to enter the city [Delhi] and how many people can be allowed to enter are matters to be decided by the police,” said the Supreme Court, adding, “We cannot interfere.”
“We are not going to tell you what you should do. We will take up this matter on Jan 20. “Does the Union of India want the Supreme Court to tell it what powers you have under the police Act? Why do you need the court to tell you that you have power?
“We have not taken charge of the matter the way you think we have. Apparently, the intervention of the court has been strongly mistaken by you [Centre]” the court said, adding, “It is for the police to decide on the plea for permission for demonstration in Ramlila maidan.”
Meanwhile, farmers who have been protesting against farm laws for nearly two months are firm on holding the proposed tractor rally on Republic Day and continue their sit-in demonstration until the farm laws are repealed. Leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Rakesh Tikait said on Sunday that farmers are ready to protest until May 2024.” Our demand is that the three laws be taken back and the government provide a legal guarantee on the MSP,” Rakesh Tikait said.
BKU leader Rakesh Tikait had said during the 9th round of talks on farm laws between farmers and the government that the farmers would withdraw the tractor rally on Republic Day if ordered by the Supreme Court. The farmers, however, are now firm on their stand to stage the Republic Day tractor rally.
The Supreme Court will also hear pleas on the issue of farm bills and ongoing protests on Delhi’s borders for over 50 days.
Union leader Yogendra Yadav said at a press conference at the Singhu border protest site, “We will carry out a tractor parade on the Outer Ring Road in Delhi on Republic Day. The parade will be very peaceful.”
“There will be no disruption of the Republic Day parade. The farmers will put up the national flag on their tractors,” he said.
Meanwhile, farmers in different parts of Punjab continue to organize mock tractor rallies to inspire more and more individuals to join the planned ‘Kisan Tractor March’ in large numbers.
ACP (Connaught Place) told media outlets on Sunday, “In view of Covid-19, we are trying to reduce the gathering to 25,000 as compared to 1.5 lakh people earlier. People must follow coronavirus guidelines. We have restricted children below 15 years and adults above 65 yrs to the program.”