New Delhi (India): While hearing the Centre’s plea against the proposed tractor rally by farmers on Republic Day, the Supreme Court on Monday said that entry into Delhi is a law and order issue and the police should determine who should be allowed entry and on what conditions.
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde, told Attorney General KK Venugopal appearing for the Centre that the court cannot be the authority to decide who can enter Delhi and who cannot.
“We said this last time that entry to Delhi has to be seen under Delhi police. Invoke all your powers to see whether farmers can be allowed in the city, but who can be allowed or not are matters of law and order and will be dealt with by police. We cannot be the first authority here,” the CJI said.
Attorney General Venugopal told the Bench that tractor rallies by farmers will be illegal and 5000 people are likely to enter Delhi during that time.
To this, the bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian asked the Attorney General whether the Union of India needs the Supreme Court to state what powers it has under the police act.
Replying to the court, the Attorney General said that an order on the issue may be passed and this will strengthen the police’s hands.
“We are facing an unprecedented situation,” he added.
“But why do you want us to tell what powers you have? The intervention of the court had been strongly misunderstood. Who will come in the city and who will be allowed will not be seen by us,” the Bench said while adjourning the matter for hearing till Wednesday.
The court was hearing Centre’s application seeking an injunction against the proposed tractor rally 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 that any proposed rally or protest which seeks to disrupt and disturb the Republic Day celebrations will cause an “embarrassment to the nation”.
On January 12, the top court agreed to hear the application of the Centre and posted it for hearing on January 18. The Bench had issued a notice on the application and said that it be served upon the farmers’ unions, which are protesting against the new farm laws.
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.
Reports have claimed that farmer leaders have clarified that the tractor rally on January 26 will only take place at the Haryana-Delhi borders and the farmers are not planning to reach the Red Fort to disrupt the Republic Day parade as is being claimed by some.
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 the 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.